Humanities
PHI 215 CPCC Star Trek Mind Body Problem Discussion

PHI 215

Central Piedmont Community College

PHI

Question Description

I’m studying and need help with a Philosophy question to help me learn.

Word document titled Mind Body Problem Paper is the Assignment

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Science fiction literature often raises philosophical issues and is a great source for philosophical speculation. This is especially true for the mind/body problem. For example, it is common in science fiction literature to encounter androids. An android is a robot which resembles a human being in appearance and behavior. Examples of androids in science fiction books, television programs or films are numerous (Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Terminator, A.I., I Robot, etc.). In reality many computer scientists are currently working in the area of “artificial intelligence” or machines that can “think for themselves.” Many computer scientists believe this is the first step in creating these androids of the future and that in time the distinction between man and machine will be practically erased. These scientists speculate that androids with super-computer brains will have thoughts, beliefs, feelings and desires just like humans. Therefore, some argue, they will also have the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges that all humans have and should be treated as thus. Do you see problems with this view of the future? Do you think machines can ever become persons? In order to explore this question, let us consider an episode of the popular television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. It would be helpful if you could view this episode (perhaps you can rent it or download it from Netflix), but I have provided a synopsis below so that you can fulfill this assignment without viewing the episode. For your initial post: After reading the synopsis (or viewing the episode) write a substantive response. The bulk of your response should be on the first question and relating the story to class lectures and readings on the mind/body problem. • From your reading and from the lectures given in class, and using the categories discussed in class, what view of the mind/body problem do you think is exhibited by Picard? By Maddox? IMPORTANT: SUPPORT YOUR ANSWER. • Maddox lists three criteria for a being to be sentient: intelligence, self-awareness and consciousness. Are these adequate? Can you think of other properties or characteristics a being needs to have in order to be considered a “person?” What might they be? • Do you think that artificial intelligence to the level as it is presented in the story will someday be possible? Why or why not? • Do you think Maddox is right when he claims that Picard is being “irrational and emotional” in his view of Data? • Do you agree with the JAG officers final ruling. Why or why not? • If A.I. does become possible, will we have obligations to treat machines “ethically? The synopsis can be found here. (Sorry, I had my own written out but I can't find it). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Measure_of_a_Man_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation) Thomas Nagel ▪ There are things cannot be understood from a maximally objective point of view ▪ Attempts to give complete accounts of the world in objective terms leads to false reductions or outright denials of certainly patently real phenomena exist at all ▪ These theories (materialism, reductionism) impoverish the intellectual pursuit and serious expressions of certain questions ▪ Bats have a fundamentally different experience of the world ▪ Echolocation, live upside down, poor eyesight etc. ▪ Dissimilar to any sense we possess ▪ There is no reason to suppose that it is subjectively like anything we can experience or imagine ▪ Subjective character of experience ▪ qualia ▪ Not just imagine being a bat ▪ But what is it like for a bat to be a bat? ▪ We are restricted by our own minds, which are inadequate for the task ▪ We could ask the same for people born blind or Martians ▪ The experiences are inaccessible to me ▪ “Reflection on what it is like to be a bat seems to lead us, therefore, to the conclusion that there are facts that do not consist in the truth of propositions expressible in a human language. We can be compelled to recognize the existence of such facts without being able to state or comprehend them.” ▪ Martian scientists could find out all the facts of lightening and rainbows, but never know what the concept really means to us because the martian would not have our capacities. ▪ These phenomenological occurrences of experience cannot be account for in a bare bones case of facts. The phenomena of experience are not reducible to brain states ▪ The assumption of materialism, instead of eliminating the problem, only sidesteps it Descartes and Substance Dualism ▪ For most of western history people have believed we have souls ▪ We are created in the image of God, who is spirit ▪ We have both a body and a soul, part animal, part divine ▪ Contemporary models claim we are more like a computer, mechanisms and without, perhaps, free will ▪ Dualism: we are both mental and physical ▪ Plato, Descartes, Locke, Moreland ▪ Idealism: Only mental ▪ Berkeley, Hinduism ▪ Materialism: Only physical ▪ Hume, Russell, Taylor, Churchland ▪ Bodies are solid, extended, three dimensional, observable. The laws of cause and effect hold sway ▪ Minds have none of the above properties. Not solid or material, does not occupy space. Only observable by the person who owns it ▪ These two dissimilar things somehow interact ▪ There are three substances ▪ Eternal substance, God ▪ Minds ▪ Matter ▪ Because of the cogito, we know we are minds ▪ Can deduce matter from this ▪ Descartes knew that he had sensations from his body ▪ It is certain that at least Descartes believes he has these sensations ▪ God is good and so does not deceive ▪ So Descartes is a thinking thing that has a body ▪ Besides thinking, we have other faculties ▪ The change of position ▪ The assumption of different figures ▪ We passively encounter the world ▪ Objective reality is thrust upon me against my will ▪ My body needs food and drink ▪ Subjective, incorrigible experience ▪ Qualia: subjective experience ▪ I am more than just the pilot of my body, I am inextricably bound in it ▪ My body is divisible, the mind is not ▪ I can lose a hand or foot and still be me ▪ Are there even parts of a mind to be lost? ▪ I can imagine living without a body but not without a mind ▪ So we must deduce that corporeal objects exist because I have these sensations passively and God is not a deceiver ▪ The mind attaches to the brain at the pineal gland ▪ The soul moves the brain and the brain can move the soul ...
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Final Answer

Attached.

Running head: STAR TREK
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Star Trek
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Institution
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STAR TREK
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Star Trek
From your reading and from the lectures given in class, and using the categories discussed in
class, what view of the mind/body problem do you think is exhibited by Picard? By Maddox?
The view of the mind/body problem that has been exhibited by Picard is that people age
more like a computer. This can be supported by the manner Picard defends Data. Besides, in his
own arguments, he believed that Data is a sentient being in that he functions like a computer.
Therefore, according to Picard, computers, and people are closely related. Another view held by
Picard is materialism, where human beings are only physical. This view is held by different
people such a Taylor, Russell as well as Hume (Tutor, 2020). In Picard’s view, Data does not
need to have a soul to be termed as a sentient being.
On the other hand, the view demonstrated by Maddox, is that sentient beings should have
souls. Such is evident in the manner he refers to Data as “it” because he does not have a soul.
Since Data does not have a soul, Maddox treats him as an item or a thing rather than a sentient
being (Scheerer, 1989). Another view is that sentient beings should be created by God in His...

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