Authors
Jenann Ismael
Columbia University
Abstract
Human beings think of themselves in terms of a privileged non-descriptive designator — a mental “I”. Such thoughts are called “de se” thoughts. The mind/body problem is the problem of deciding what kind of thing I am, and it can be regarded as arising from the fact that we think of ourselves non-descriptively. Why do we think of ourselves in this way? We investigate the functional role of “I” (and also “here” and “now”) in cognition, arguing that the use of such non-descriptive “reflexive” designators is essential for making sophisticated cognition work in a general-purpose cognitive agent. If we were to build a robot capable of similar cognitive tasks as humans, it would have to be equipped with such designators. Once we understand the functional role of reflexive designators in cognition, we will see that to make cognition work properly, an agent must use a de se designator in specific ways in its reasoning. Rather simple arguments based upon how “I” works in reasoning lead to the conclusion that it cannot designate the body or part of the body. If it designates anything, it must be something non-physical. However, for the purpose of making the reasoning work correctly, it makes no difference whether “I” actually designates anything. If we were to build a robot that more or less duplicated human cognition, we would not have to equip it with anything for “I” to designate, and general physicalist inclinations suggest that there would be nothing for “I” to designate in the robot. In particular, it cannot designate the physical contraption. So the robot would believe “I exist”, but it would be wrong. Why should we think we are any different?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,700
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Moral Insignificance of Self‐Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4).
What Am I?: Virtual Machines and the Mind/Body Problem.John Pollock - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):237-309.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Embodied Cognition.A. Wilson Robert & Foglia Lucia - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
黑格尔认识论和本体论的根本错 误以及我的新的本体论和认识论.DongKai Li - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 34:73-84.
Irrationality and Cognition.John Pollock - 2008 - In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Oscar.John L. Pollock - 1996 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 6 (1):89-113.
You and I, Robot.Shaun Gallagher - 2013 - AI and Society 28 (4):455-460.
Embodiment and Cognitive Science.Raymond W. Gibbs - 2005 - New York ;Cambridge University Press.
Making Robots Conscious of Their Mental States.John McCarthy - 1996 - In S. Muggleton (ed.), Machine Intelligence 15. Oxford University Press.
The Practical Requirements for Making a Conscious Robot.Daniel C. Dennett - 1994 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 349:133-46.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-12-22

Total views
68 ( #151,571 of 2,432,328 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #97,271 of 2,432,328 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes