Star Trek: the Next Generation “the Measure of a Man”

Topics: Mind, Philosophy of mind, Soul Pages: 2 (605 words) Published: January 29, 2012
Based on my reading of Hasker (1983), I believe the view of the mind or body problem that was exhibited by Piccard in the synopsis from Star Trek: The Next Generation was the Dualism view. Picard stated that, “Data has rights among them the right to refuse to undergo an experimental procedure such as this.” Here, Picard ascribes both physical and mental attributes to the robot (Data). This view correlates to Hasker (1983) statement that, “Dualism begins by taking quite seriously the fact that human beings have both physical properties and mental properties…” (p. 65). Hasker (1983) further indicates that even though the mind and body are different, they are not detached, but continuously interacting (Dualism Interactionism), which is Piccard’s claim, that Data has an artificial mind and mechanical physical body, which appears disconnected, yet, somehow unites to function as one. In contrast, Maddox viewed Data, the robot, as lacking any actual mental properties. Therefore, he constantly referred to Data as “it” instead of “him” and he was not troubled at the possibility that he may be unable to re-assemble Data, since Data was merely a material object or self-operating computer designed for this purpose. This view appears to match Hasker’s (1983) Materialism view, that man is a material being, with the brain as the self-operating computer, but the question remains as to whether or not man-made computers can actually think as oppose to simulating thoughts. According to Hasker (1983), “A rock may be made into an altar, but it takes a living soul to worship at it” (p. 57). Besides Maddox’s sentient criteria of intelligence, self-awareness and consciousness, I believe there are other characteristic needed to be considered a “person,” such as the ability to make moral judgments, speak a language, creativity, free will, and most importantly having a soul. The Bible tells us God first created man (material), then he breath into him the breath of life (immaterial) and he...


References: Hasker, W. (1983). Metaphysics: Constructing a World View. (1st ed.). Downers Grove: IL: InterVarsity Press.
Rodney A. B. (1990) "New approaches to robotics" in Cambrian intelligence. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
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