Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Introduction to Philosophy, Part 4 Mind

Part 4: Mind

Looking at the fall semester schedule we will have time to do Part II of the writing assignment before the midterm. The Part II assignment, which we will review, will be due 25 October 2017. 

Before the midterm, and I will announce the due date with abundant time before it is due, will have a preview handout.

Pick out a last name from the "magical cup of knowledge" (and, unless you picked out your own last name), call it out so your colleague can see you, return the last name to the bottom of the stack, and hand it to the next person until everyone is paired with a colleague. If you have already been partnered with a colleague just hand the stack of names to the next person. Finally, find your colleague for the Discussion today and answer the questions on the handout. 

With your colleague share answers in regards to the questions on the handout about Alan Turing and the Imitation Game. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the classic Turing Test 
  • Grasp if computers can have mental states.
  • Machine intelligence
  • Machine intelligence: self-awareness and consciousness
  • Best AI chat bots for college

 Does every event have a cause?

 Do human beings possess free will?

 Does each person consist of a soul connected to a body?

 Are you identical with your body, your mind, or some combination of the two?

 If you are a combination, how are the mind and body connected so as to form one person?

 What field of philosophy do these questions belong to?

The Ghost in the Machine Gilbert Ryle

Gilbert Ryle (19 August 1900 – 6 October 1976) was a British philosopher. He was a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers who shared Wittgenstein's approach to philosophical problems, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the machine." Some of his ideas in the philosophy of mind have been referred to as "behaviourist." Ryle's best known book is The Concept of Mind (1949), in which he writes that the "general trend of this book will undoubtedly, and harmlessly, be stigmatised as 'behaviourist'." Ryle, having engaged in detailed study of the key works of Bernard Bolzano, Franz Brentano, Alexius Meinong, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger, himself suggested instead that the book "could be described as a sustained essay in phenomenology, if you are at home with that label."

Ryles: What is the ghost in the machine?

What is Cartesian rationalism and how does Ryles differ from Descartes?

What is the category mistake?

What is at least one example?

What are the two fundamental kinds of substance?

Why does Ryle condemn dualism?

How is the argument extended?

What is a fun fact?

What questions intrigue you from "I Robot"?

Ghosts In The Machine, Dr. Lanning, 1:44

Ghosts In The Machines By: Dr Lanning from "I Robot " It was a concept in Gilbert Ryle's book "The Concept of Mind" (1949)

Ryle's Ghost in the Machine, 7:05

Materialism is the view that a person is just a body. If the materialist is correct, then how can a person think and feel? Can a mere body do that?

Body and Soul Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor:

Why do humans do what they do according to Taylor?

What are the two responses?

What is the big problem?

What is our predicament?

By what does moral responsibility exist?

How does Taylor apply free will?

How do we know free will exists?

Did Taylor prove free will? Why or why not?

Richard Taylor (November 5, 1919 – October 30, 2003), born in Charlotte, Michigan, was an American philosopher renowned for his dry wit and his contributions to metaphysics. He was also an internationally known beekeeper.

Richard Taylor, 8:21

In this lecture, I cover Richard Taylor's defense of free will. I also touch on the relationship between free will and ethical responsibility.

The Mind–Body Problem Paul M. Churchland

Paul Churchland (born October 21, 1942) is a Canadian philosopher known for his studies in neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind. After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh under Wilfrid Sellars (1969), Churchland rose to the rank of full professor at the University of Manitoba before accepting the Valtz Family Endowed Chair in Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a joint appointments in that institution's Institute for Neural Computation and on its Cognitive Science Faculty. As of this February 2017, Churchland is recognised as Professor Emeritus at the UCSD, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Moscow State University. Churchland is the husband of philosopher Patricia Churchland, with whom he collaborates, and The New Yorker has reported the similarity of their views, e.g., on the mind-body problem, are such that the two are discussed as if they are one person.

The mind–body problem is the question of how the human mind and body can causally interact. This question arises when mind and body are considered as distinct, based on the premise that the mind and the body are fundamentally different in nature.

The problem was addressed by René Descartes in the 17th century, resulting in Cartesian dualism, and by pre-Aristotelian philosophers, in Avicennian philosophy, and in earlier Asian traditions.
A variety of approaches have been proposed. Most are either dualist or monist. Dualism maintains a rigid distinction between the realms of mind and matter. Monism maintains that there is only one unifying reality, substance or essence in terms of which everything can be explained.

Each of these categories contain numerous variants. The two main forms of dualism are substance dualism, which holds that the mind is formed of a distinct type of substance not governed by the laws of physics, and property dualism, which holds that mental properties involving conscious experience are fundamental properties, alongside the fundamental properties identified by a completed physics. The three main forms of monism are physicalism, which holds that the mind consists of matter organized in a particular way; idealism, which holds that only thought truly exists and matter is merely an illusion; and neutral monism, which holds that both mind and matter are aspects of a distinct essence that is itself identical to neither of them.

Several philosophical perspectives have been developed which reject the mind–body dichotomy. The historical materialism of Karl Marx and subsequent writers, itself a form of physicalism, held that consciousness was engendered by the material contingencies of one's environment. An explicit rejection of the dichotomy is found in French structuralism, and is a position that generally characterized post-war French philosophy.

The absence of an empirically identifiable meeting point between the non-physical mind and its physical extension has proven problematic to dualism and many modern philosophers of mind maintain that the mind is not something separate from the body. These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, particularly in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology, and the neurosciences.

An ancient model of the mind known as the Five-Aggregate Model explains the mind as continuously changing sense impressions and mental phenomena. Considering this model, it is possible to understand that it is the constantly changing sense impressions and mental phenomena (i.e., the mind) that experiences/analyzes all external phenomena in the world as well as all internal phenomena including the body anatomy, the nervous system as well as the organ brain. This conceptualization leads to two levels of analyses: (i) analyses conducted from a third-person perspective on how the brain works, and (ii) analyzing the moment-to-moment manifestation of an individual’s mind-stream (analyses conducted from a first-person perspective). Considering the latter, the manifestation of the mind-stream is described as happening in every person all the time, even in a scientist who analyses various phenomena in the world, including analyzing and hypothesizing about the organ brain.

Paul Churchland: What is the overwhelming factor in the mind-body problem?

What is the one dramatic exception?

What is the large gulf?

What did Orwell contribute to the discussion?

What does the problem lead us to?

Is what is inside actually who we are?

What is the solution?

The Mind Body Problem, 5:25

If materialism is correct and a person is identical with a body, can we explain the phenomenon we all experience of being conscious? How can my body be conscious? Is my consciousness like yours? Is ours like that of animals?

What Is It Like to Be a Bat? Thomas Nagel

Thomas Nagel (born July 4, 1937) is an American philosopher, currently University Professor of Philosophy and Law Emeritus at New York University in the NYU Department of Philosophy, where he has taught since 1980. His main areas of philosophical interest are philosophy of mind, political philosophy and ethics.

Nagel is well known for his critique of material reductionist accounts of the mind, particularly in his essay "What Is it Like to Be a Bat?" (1974), and for his contributions to deontological and liberal moral and political theory in The Possibility of Altruism (1970) and subsequent writings. Continuing his critique of reductionism, he is the author of Mind and Cosmos (2012), in which he argues against a reductionist view, and specifically the neo-Darwinian view, of the emergence of consciousness.

What Is It Like to Be a Bat? 6:05

"Suppose a caterpillar is locked in a sterile safe by someone unfamiliar with insect metamorphosis, and weeks later the safe is reopened, revealing a butterfly. If the person knows that the safe has been shut the whole time, he has reason to believe that the butterfly is or was once the caterpillar, without having any idea in what sense this might be so... It is conceivable that we are in such a position with regard to physicalism."

What can bat behavior reveal about human minds? What does it mean to say: what is it like? If foreign intelligence is found will we be able to understand it? Is physicalism false? Why or why not? What can lead to understanding? What does "is" mean?

The Qualia Problem Frank Jackson

Frank Cameron Jackson AO (born 1943) is an Australian analytic philosopher, currently Distinguished Professor and former Director of the Research School of Social Sciences at Australian National University. He was also a regular visiting professor of philosophy at Princeton University from 2007 through 2014. His research focuses primarily on philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and meta-ethics.

Frank Jackson: The question that Jackson raises is: once she experiences color, does she learn anything new? Mary may know everything about the science of color perception, but can she know what the experience of red is like if she has never seen red? Based on your understanding is physicalism false?

Frank Jackson - The Knowledge Argument - Mary's Room - Mary the Super-Scientist, 5:18

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like 'red', 'blue', and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence 'The sky is blue'. [...] What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?

In other words, Jackson's Mary is a scientist who knows everything there is to know about the science of color, but has never experienced color. The question that Jackson raises is: once she experiences color, does she learn anything new?

Ontologically, the following argument is contained in the thought experiment:

(P1) Any and every piece of physical knowledge in regards to human color vision has been obtained (by the test subject, Mary) prior to her release from the black-and-white room. She has all the physical knowledge on the subject.

(P2) Upon leaving the room and witnessing color first-hand, she obtains new knowledge.

(C) There was some knowledge about human color vision she did not have prior to her release. Therefore, not all knowledge is physical knowledge.

Most authors who discuss the knowledge argument cite the case of Mary, but Frank Jackson used a further example in his seminal article: the case of a person, Fred, who sees a color unknown to normal human perceivers. We might want to know what color Fred experiences when looking at things that appear to him in that particular way. It seems clear that no amount of knowledge about what happens in his brain and about how color information is processed in his visual system will help us to find an answer to that question. In both cases cited by Jackson, an epistemic subject A appears to have no access to particular items of knowledge about a subject B: A cannot know that B has an experience of a particular quality Q on certain occasions. This particular item of knowledge about B is inaccessible to A because A never had experiences of Q herself. The knowledge argument:

The knowledge argument is that if Mary does learn something new upon experiencing color, then physicalism is false. Specifically, the Knowledge Argument is an attack on the physicalist claim about the completeness of physical explanations of mental states. Mary may know everything about the science of color perception, but can she know what the experience of red is like if she has never seen red? Jackson contends that, yes, she has learned something new, via experience, and hence, physicalism is false.
Jackson states:

 It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then it is inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism is false.

 It is important to note that in Jackson's article, physicalism refers to the epistemological doctrine that all knowledge is knowledge of physical facts, and not the metaphysical doctrine that all things are physical things.

A materialist believes that reality consists only of physical objects and their properties. Can materialism, however, account for phenomenal qualities, that is, what it is like to have a certain kind of experience?

Knowing What It’s Like David Lewis

David Kellogg Lewis (September 28, 1941 – October 14, 2001) was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years. He made contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of probability, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic, and aesthetics.

He is probably best known for his controversial modal realist stance: that (i) possible worlds exist, (ii) every possible world is a concrete entity, (iii) any possible world is causally and spatiotemporally isolated from any other possible world, and (iv) our world is among the possible worlds.

david lewis, on the plurality of worlds 28-09-16, 5:27

David Lewis: Is everything that exists a part of our world? Is everything that exists in time a part of our world?

Do only living things think? What about a computer? Does it have conscious thoughts?

Computing Machinery and Intelligence Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist.

Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre that produced Ultra intelligence. For a time he led Hut 8, the section which was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Counterfactual history is difficult with respect to the effect Ultra intelligence had on the length of the war, but at the upper end it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over fourteen million lives.

After the war, Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman's Computing Machine Laboratory at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he helped develop the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960s.

Alan Turing - The Imitation Game - Can Machines Think? 2:17

In this clip from the movie "The Imitation Game", Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) explains about how machines can think. Based on the real life story of Alan Turing , who is credited with cracking the German Enigma code, THE IMITATION GAME portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain's top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment, but his work and legacy live on. This video is for educative purposes only. The copyright remains with BlueSkyFilm, Studiocanal, Weinstein and CoPeerRight Agency - Italy.

Alan Turing: Do good machines think? Or, do they think differently? Do our brains work differently? What is the imitation game all about? Can a computer talk like a human?

The Turing test: Can a computer pass for a human? - Alex Gendler, 4:42

What is consciousness? Can an artificial machine really think? For many, these have been vital considerations for the future of artificial intelligence. But British computer scientist Alan Turing decided to disregard all these questions in favor of a much simpler one: Can a computer talk like a human? Alex Gendler describes the Turing test and details some of its surprising results.

Alex Gendler: What is consciousness? Is there a core in the mind? How did Turing ask a simple question? What is the Turing test? What game did he propose? How could a computer be intelligent? What was the first claim to success? What was another early script? What was one weakness of the test? What are chat bots and how are they used today? What approach has Clever bot taken? What does it lack? Is memory and processing power enough? Why or why not? If a computer is following instructions is it thinking? What is the mind doing while following instructions? What is the threshold point between following instructions and the mind actually thinking?

Turing asked a simple question: can a computer talk like a human?

What is the Turing test?

If a human can not distinguish between a human and a computer.

What game did he propose?

A game to judge human and robot responses to conversation.

How could a computer be intelligent?

If conversation could not be easily distinguished between human respondents and a computer.

What was the first claim to success?

Eliza: it misled many people by mimicking a psychologist.

What was another early script?

Parry: imitated a paranoid schizophrenic.

What was one weakness of the test?

Humans regularly attribute intelligence to a whole range of things that are not actually intelligence.

What are chat bots and how are they used today?

Catherine could carry on conversations about Bill Clinton.

Eugene imitated a 13 year old Ukrainian boy.

What approach has Clever bot taken?

By statistically analyzing huge databases of real conversations to determine the best responses.

What does it lack?

Lack of consistent personality and brand new topics.

Is memory and processing power enough? Why or why not?

No, we may have to deal with consciousness after all.

John Searle: Chinese symbols

If a computer is following instructions is it thinking?

What is the mind doing while following instructions?

What is the threshold point between following instructions and the mind actually thinking?

Philosophy Final- The Chinese Room, 4:33

Can computers have mental states? What happened in 1997? In 2011? What is the Chinese room thought experiment? Are the answers correct? What is the experiment a metaphor for? What does Dennett maintain? What do you think?

Do Computers Think? John Searle

John Rogers Searle (born 31 July 1932) is an American philosopher. He is currently Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Language and Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and social philosophy, he began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1959.

As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Searle was secretary of "Students against Joseph McCarthy". He received all his university degrees, BA, MA, and D Phil, from Oxford University, where he held his first faculty positions. Later, at UC Berkeley, he became the first tenured professor to join the 1964–65 Free Speech Movement. In the late 1980s, Searle challenged the restrictions of Berkeley's 1980 rent stabilization ordinance. Following what came to be known as the California Supreme Court's "Searle Decision" of 1990, Berkeley changed its rent control policy, leading to large rent increases between 1991 and 1994.

In 2000 Searle received the Jean Nicod Prize; in 2004, the National Humanities Medal; and in 2006, the Mind & Brain Prize. Searle's early work on speech acts, influenced by J. L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein, helped establish his reputation.

His notable concepts include the "Chinese room" argument against "strong" artificial intelligence.

John Searle - What Things Really Exist? 4:35

When you ask what things really exist, and you think deeply about this probe to apprehend what is out there, you see the whole world anew. What are the most general categories to understand the world? Click here to watch more interviews with John Searle Click here to watch more interviews on what really exists Click here to buy episodes or complete seasons of Closer To Truth For all of our video interviews please visit us at

John Searle: What worlds exist? What worlds exist according to Searle? How do mathematically entities exist? What is the temptation in philosophy? Do numbers exist? What is the way out? How many worlds does Searle have? What is the spectrum? How does at least one neuroscientist disagree with Searle? Is the Internet conscious? Do you think it's a good idea for us to give machines intelligence? Why or why not?

When Is Artificial Intelligence No Longer Artificial? 3:15

Spike Jonze's upcoming movie "Her" deals with a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his intelligent, self-aware computer operating system (Scarlett Johansson). But what is it that we find so fascinating about artificial intelligence? Could we ever create completely self-aware artificial intelligence? Maybe we already have! Do you think it's a good idea for us to give machines intelligence, including self-awareness and consciousness?

The Body Problem Barbara Montero

Associate professor of philosophy at the City University of New York (CUNY), and member of the doctoral faculty of the philosophy program of the Graduate Center since 2004 and a member of the philosophy faculty at the college of Staten Island since 2003. Before coming to the City University of New York, an assistant professor at Georgia State University (2001-2003), and prior to that spent a year as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh (2000-2001). Received a number of national research awards, including two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Research Fellowships, an NEH Summer Stipend, and an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Ryskamp Research Fellowship.


Barbara Montero, Associate Professor of Philosophy at The College of Staten Island and The CUNY Graduate Center, talks about her work in science studies. For more information about The Mellon Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies, see:

Barbara Montero: What does Montero counter? What types does she show? What does it mean to be an expert? Do you agree or disagree with Montero? Can self-help efforts make you an expert? What in her background may provide insight into the question?

Meditations on First Philosophy René Descartes

Cartesian Dualism - Philosophy Tube, 8:27

Descartes in his Meditations tries to prove that mind and body are separate and fundamentally different substances, but is he right?
Descartes: What is the link between Descartes and Keanu Reeves? What is dualism? What is res cogitans? What is Leibniz's Law? What is the masked man fallacy? What is another example? Can a non-physical mind affect a physical brain? What reasons have meant that Cartesian dualism is not as popular these days?