Are We Spiritual Machines?

For two hundred years materialist philosophers have argued that man is some sort of machine. The claim began with French materialists of the Enlightenment such as Pierre Cabanis, Julien La Mettrie, and Baron d’Holbach (La Mettrie even wrote a book titled Man the Machine). Likewise contemporary materialists like Marvin Minsky, Daniel Dennett, and Patricia Churchland claim that the motions and Read More ›

Conflating Matter and Mind

I’ve been asked to respond to criticisms of my paper “Converting Matter into Mind” (PSCS, Dec 90). My reaction to these criticisms is this: “Yes, I could have been more careful in some details and choice of terminology, but the substance of my position is unaffected.” The critics were guilty of two faults. First was a failure to read my Read More ›

Converting Matter into Mind

Introduction In the Foundations of Cognitive Science Herbert Simon and Craig Kaplan offer the following definition: Cognitive science is the study of intelligence and intelligent systems, with particular reference to intelligent behavior as computation. Since this definition hinges on the dual notions of intelligence and computation, it remains scientifically unobjectionable so long as one declines to prejudge the relation between Read More ›