Chapter 6 : The Mind-Body Problem


So with the Mind Body Problem there are three Positions and several variations on each of them.

 1. Dualism

2. Monism: Idealism

3. Monism: Materialism

Each has a certain appeal and each has weak points, problems and disadvantages.  There are those who believe that they have solved the problem and that their position is far better than the alternatives .  They have their reasons for maintaining the position that they do in the light of criticisms.  The "Problem" does not as yet have such a clear solution that there is anything like a consensus amongst all the peoples of the world existing or even one forming.   

For Philosophers and Scientists there is the rejection of dualism and idealism and the remaining challenges for the materialists would relate to an explanation of CONSCIOUSNESS and INTENTIONALITY.  Consciousness as awareness and self awareness and intentionality as choosing from available options.


How is it that humans have consciousness, intentionalityŚchoosing options, making goals?

Is it possible that non-human machines could have consciousness, intentionalityŚchoosing options, making goals?

When we think of this problem can we avoid being a   specie ist!!

Is it possible that there could emerge a form of consciousness from advanced super intelligent machines?

Some think consciousness emerges or manifests as a feature of brain operations or functions.   Some think that consciousness can emerge or manifest from any complex information processing unit whether biological or non-biological.  Some would restrict consciousness as being possible only from biological information processing units.

Can there be artificial non-biological general intelligent machines?

What is your position?  Do you have a mind?  Is it physical?  Is it non-physical? Spiritual? Are you just a physical being?  Will there be thinking robots some day who are entitled to basic rights as any other thinking being? What position can you best defend using reasoning and evidence?


Creative Commons License
Introduction to Philosophy by Philip A. Pecorino is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Return to:               Table of Contents for the Online Textbook