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  1. 1. This power point raises questions about philosophy of mind . It is concerned with the nature and function of minds as well as the relationship of minds to physical bodies. In wondering whether a machine might have a mind, we’ll at the same time be forced to wonder what it means to say that human beings have minds. This will lead us smack into the problem of other minds a central problem in the philosophy of mind that also extends into epistemology (the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge). Whereas a philosopher of mind might ask, ‘what is the nature of mind?’ an epistemologist asks, ‘How do we know, what does and what doesn’t have a mind?’
  2. 2. Before looking at this question in more depth, it is necessary to recap theories concerning human consciousness and human experience. They are all Materialist (physicalist) in nature meaning: a persons mental state (whatever a person is experiencing at a particular moment) is intimately tied to their brain state at that moment.) 1.The mind is biological in nature ( biological states of mind – J. Searle) 2. The mind is a series of functional states (functionalism) 3. Mental states are just physical states of the brain. (identity theory) 4. There is no such thing as mind (eliminative materialism – P. Churchland)
  3. 3. <ul><li>John Searle’s biological view of the mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious experience is the brains neural networks firing away. </li></ul><ul><li>The biochemistry of the brain is crucial to the emergence of conscious experience. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. The experience of thirst is neurons reacting to kidney secretions of rennin synthesising a substance called angiotensin. </li></ul><ul><li>Any analysis of the mind he argues cannot discount the importance of the biochemistry of the brain. </li></ul><ul><li>(Watch clip of neurons in the brain) </li></ul><ul><li>Functionalist understandings of the mind. </li></ul><ul><li>The mind is not an effect of biological processes. </li></ul><ul><li>They are functional states of extremely complex systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Mental states are the result of input-process-output relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Stub your toe (input) – Mental state of pain (process) – Shout obscenity or hop around room or both (output) </li></ul><ul><li>Functionalists generally support the notion of A.I </li></ul><ul><li>They argue the mind is to the brain what the program is to the computer hardware. </li></ul><ul><li>Personality, experience, decisions etc are just the output of the program your brain is running. If this can be duplicated in a machine they would be just like us. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Reductive </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as identity theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Mental states are just physical states of the brain. </li></ul><ul><li>They are a pattern of neurons firing. </li></ul><ul><li>Mind and brain are essentially the same. </li></ul><ul><li>To be ‘mind-dead’ is to be ‘brain-dead’. </li></ul><ul><li>As our understanding of the brain’s functioning improves , we should be able to match up particular beliefs, desires, perceptions and emotions to specific patterns of brain activity. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words the experience of eating cornflakes would be identical to a more scientific description such as having a ‘neural firing pattern in the Gamma 8.2 quadrant of your brain’. </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminative </li></ul><ul><li>Radical view of mind </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Churchland </li></ul><ul><li>Any notions of free-floating thoughts or beliefs are factually non-sensical. </li></ul><ul><li>Just gobbledegook as a result of unscientific method. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Folk psychology’ an unscientific means to understand the non-physical realm. </li></ul><ul><li>As science progresses it eliminates all incorrect previous truths e.g. Demons responsible for schizophrenia </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminativists believe the same fate await the concept of mind. </li></ul><ul><li>All philosophies of mind since ancient Greece to date has failed to give any explanation for anything. </li></ul><ul><li>Mind, conscious beliefs, emotions, thoughts are all denied and eliminated from debate. </li></ul><ul><li>They accept our experience has a particular content and feeling to it but deny any folk psychological explanation for it. </li></ul><ul><li>Through neurological studies we will ultimately understand our brains. </li></ul><ul><li>As neuroscience progresses so does our knowledge of the brain. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>If mind is linked to biological neurons firing. </li></ul><ul><li>If mind is identical to neurons firing. </li></ul><ul><li>If mind is linked to a functional process of input – output. </li></ul><ul><li>If mind doesn’t exist at all in the way we have previously described. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Many people today </li></ul><ul><li>in fact believe that conscious robots </li></ul><ul><li>will exist in the not too distant future. </li></ul><ul><li>It is just a matter of time and technology. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>A famous thought experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Searle argued that if we placed a subject in a room and provided them with a question in Chinese – E.g - What is South Park? They would have no knowledge or understanding of what they had been given beyond the idea it was some sort of language. </li></ul><ul><li>However if you provide the subject with a guidebook in English of all the symbols correlating to the question and give them symbols to reply back with, after laborious efforts an answer could be arrived at. </li></ul><ul><li>The point is that although accurate communication has taken place, it is quite clear that the subject doesn’t understand a word of Chinese. </li></ul><ul><li>With the aid of a rule book they are able to respond appropriately but without having any idea about is going on. They do not know or understand the language at all. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>When applied to computers and machines a similar conclusion is arrived at. </li></ul><ul><li>The fact that computers can be programmed to provide us with output that responds to whatever input we give it simply does not suffice to show that it understands anything at all. </li></ul><ul><li>They have syntax (‘if x or y’ then x is y’) but no semantics (no understanding or meaning of ‘x or y’) </li></ul><ul><li>Searle argues that this is the main difference between complex computing machines and the human mind. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s important to realise that Searle’s claim isn’t that machines can’t think, understand or be aware but rather that only a certain kind of ‘machine’, a human brain or something very much like it can think. </li></ul>‘ No comparison because a machine has no sense or understanding of what it is doing. It can compute 98.5 x 34.71 but it can have no meaningful understanding of what it has done.’
  9. 9. <ul><li>For example – I know I have a mind. How? </li></ul><ul><li>Well in some sense ‘I am my mind.’ </li></ul><ul><li>It makes no sense to say I have a mind in the same way that I have a car. Otherwise what is it that has a mind? </li></ul><ul><li>Besides following on from Descartes ‘if I know one thing, it is that I am a thinking thing’. </li></ul><ul><li>But how do I know anyone else has a mind? </li></ul><ul><li>I don’t have immediate access to anybody’s mind </li></ul><ul><li>except my own. </li></ul><ul><li>I cannot know for sure anyone in this room has a </li></ul><ul><li>mind. I can only infer it from observing your behaviour. </li></ul>