• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month


Extracts from this document...


PERSONS "HOW CONVINCING IS THE VIEW THAT MACHINES CAN BE PERSONS?" To analyse whether machines can be persons, we must first establish the necessary criteria for personhood: rationality; creativity; autonomy; responsibility; ability to communicate meaning through language; ability to reflect on one's experiences, feelings and motives as well as those of others; have both mental and physical characteristics; possess a network of beliefs; and the ability to be social, establishing a sense of self through relationships and sentience. Technology has been rapidly developing - we now have human-like robots such as ASIMO, possessing some of the characteristics of personhood such as language - it can call objects by their name, mental and physical characteristics - it has a spatial perspective, network of beliefs - it can make inferences and decipher between objects. ...read more.


Searle tries to show us through humans, how machines don't actually understand. He presents us with the Chinese Room thought experiment, a scenario where a human responds in a language which it doesn't understand, using instructions - the human's "program" if you like. The person receiving the responses is, as a result, convinced that the replies demonstrate that the human understands the language. Searle is suggesting the same follows for machines - they simply follow a program to simulate understanding. If machines don't have understanding, Searle concludes they cannot be described as "thinking" in the same sense as people. For Searle to suggest that humans understand and machines only simulate understanding, we must possess a characteristic which machines don't. Searle claims machines are missing the "right stuff" - they are made of metal and silicone, unlike humans who are biological machines who have evolved naturally. ...read more.


Some philosophers subscribe to the concept of philosophical zombies - a being who is indistinguishable from humans in all respects, except they would either be neurological zombies (lacking sentience), or soulless zombies. They would argue that if the same follows for machines, they would be considered a "zombie". Upon closer analysis, the concept of a philosophical zombie is incoherent, as the mental characteristics (sentience) cannot be separated from physical characteristics without resulting in behavioural differences. The soul is a concept for which there is no physical evidence; it would therefore follow that humans would be philosophical zombies as it could not be proven that they have souls. Taking this into account, it is hypothetically possible for machines to be persons, as there are no human qualities which machines could not one day possess. In addition, there doesn't appear to be any logical constraints restricting a machine from meeting the criteria to be a person. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Do you find any of the arguments for cognitivism convincing?

    This seems like a very obvious fallacy, and I agree with it. It completely undermines the whole point of morality, for surely one can appreciate the absurdity of a "loveless doer of good." Where does this categorical duty arise from, if not emotion?

  2. How convincing is the claim that some machines could be persons?

    ASIMO also has a very profound learning ability that can be compared to that of a child; strengthening the idea that machines could actually be considered persons. The fact that ASIMO?s characteristics are being improved more and more, it is fair to say that at least eventually machines may be recognised as persons.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work