Minds, Machines, and Gödel: A Retrospect

In P. J. R. Millican & A. Clark (eds.), Etica E Politica. Clarendon Press. pp. 1 (1996)

Abstract

In this paper Lucas comes back to Gödelian argument against Mecanism to clarify some points. First of all, he explains his use of Gödel’s theorem instead of Turing’s theorem, showing how Gödel’ theorem, but not Turing’s theorem, raises questions concerning truth and reasoning that bear on the nature of mind and how Turing’s theorem suggests that there is something that cannot be done by any computers but not that it can be done by human minds. He considers moreover how Gödel’s theorem can be interpreted as a sophisticated form of the Cretan paradox, posed by Epimenides, able to escape the viciously self-referential nature of the Cretan paradox, and how it can be used against Mechanism as a schema of disproof. Finally, Lucas suggests some answers to the most recurrent criticisms against his argument: criticisms about the implicit idealisation in the way he set up the context between mind and machine; questions concerning modality and finitude, issues of transfinite arithmetic; questions concerning the need of formalizing rational inference and some questions about consistency

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