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If we were able to create a computer that functions exactly like a human brain, when does this "artificial" intelligence stop being artificial? I suppose what I'm trying to say is that if this computer could truly learn, and be programmed in such a way as to develop emotions just as humans do, when does it become real? When is it not right to just plug it out and "kill" it? Many people would, I'm assuming, argue that a computer isn't living, or isn't biological. (As posed in an earlier answer, that's not particularly valid; we all weed our gardens.) It comes down to emotion as far as I'm concerned. I'm finding this question particularly difficult to phrase, and the more I type the more I think that the question is going to come across as all over the place, so I'm going to stop at that and hope for the best! If there is no response I will try again another time.

The “artificial” in “artificial intelligence” describes the origin of the form of intelligence, as the result of artifice rather than nature. Both artifacts and natural things are real. However, until the advent of computers, the term “intelligence” was rarely applied to artifacts. Thus, thinking that artifacts can be intelligent involves conceptual change. You embrace this change, and suggest that a computer that functions the way intelligent humans function are indeed intelligent. Many philosophers of mind agree with you. You further suggest that emotion is a necessary component of an intelligent being. This is a bit more controversial. You may have watched Watson, IBM ’s computer, beat the world’s best human Jeopardy players recently. Many would be inclined to say that Watson is intelligent, but lacks emotion. Your final, and most provocative claim is that such artificially intelligent entities have moral status, that under some circumstances, it would be wrong to unplug them. (See the termination...

Does it make sense to talk of unconscious IDEAS? I know psychoanalysts often talk of unconscious ideas, but am puzzled by their supposed status. Many of our physiological processes are unconscious to us, but ideas? If there were unconscious ideas, how would we identify them, and how would they relate to our conscious ideas? A fan of Hume

I am also a fan of Hume, and it's easy to see how the issue you raise may appear to be particularly difficult for Hume. For Hume, ideas are copies of impressions. Impressions are sensations (or reflections - feelings) that we are aware of. Ideas are less lively, but still present to mind. So how could there be an idea about which we are not aware? Moving away from Hume for a second, consider your beliefs. Do you believe that fewer than five thousand people would fit inside a typical passenger car? Surely you believe this, but it's unlikely you had ever consciously entertained the idea involved in this belief. It's correct to say that you've believed it all along, even before it was raised as a matter of belief a few sentences ago. Such dispositional beliefs provide good examples of ideas that you have, but which you've never consciously entertained. How do we identify them? Certainly it's not by introspection, but rather by observing our dispositions to behave in various ways. You might think about...

I often find the word 'individuation' used in philosophy of mind, i.e., "individuation of beliefs". Yet, I have a very vague idea of what 'individuation' means. Moreover, it seems that different philosophers use the word in different ways. The closest explanation of the aforementioned phrase I have seen is: "a way to taxonomize beliefs". But on what basis does this taxonomy rest?

Individuation is the process of picking out individuals. We do this all the time in ordinary life. For example, if we were in a parking lot, we could individuate the cars in the lot. That is, from the group of objects in the lot, we could distinguish the individual cars. We wouldn’t have a difficult time figuring out, for example, whether there are five cars, or two cars or one car. We could distinguish each individual car. (Of course I haven’t said how we would do it, but it shouldn’t be hard to tell that story.) So there isn’t a problem of individuation for cars, at least in ordinary circumstances. Your excellent question is how we individuate, that is distinguish, beliefs. Fred’s belief that the combined landmass of French Polynesia is roughly equivalent to the landmass of Rhode Island is a different belief from his belief that the total area (including the sea) of French Polynesia is roughly equivalent to the total area of Europe. Here we have individuated the beliefs by reference to the...

I used to think that we needed language to think but then babies and animals can think and they don't have a language. I then came to the conclusion that they may not have a verbal language like ours but they use their other senses to have a language and that's why they can think. So would it be possible for a person who had none of the five senses to think? And if we use our senses to think, do plants think? Plants have senses so can they can think to some extent?

You raise a number of controversial questions about therelationship of language and thought and the possession of thought bynon-adult humans and non-humans. You suggest that babies and animalscan think. Do you think babies at any age can think, or just babieswho have reached a certain level of cognitive maturity? Do you thinkall animals can think, or just some? Do oysters think? It appearsthat you attribute thinking to any organism that can sense. But mostphilosophers think that there is a distinction to be made betweensensation and thought. An organism may be able to feel pain, forexample, when it has certain unfortunate interactions with itsenvironment. But it doesn't follow that that such an organism isthinking about it'senvironment. The sensation isn't a thought or a representation of theenvironment, but just a feeling caused by the environmental stimulus. This is a difficultphilosophical distinction, one which has exercised many a greatphilosopher, and there's good...

A person with dementia is gradually losing the capacity to think and problem solve, remember, use language and behave as they once did. However, the person-centred approach to caring for people with dementia asserts that the 'personhood' of each person is present despite this decline in abilities. What is a person in the context of dementia and how do we understand the person who has dementia in philosophical terms?

The person centered approach to psychotherapy is a widelyused methodology. (See, for example, www.person-centered.org ) In contrast with some other methods, theperson centered approach leverages the patient’s own resources in therapy,rather than relying on the authority of the therapist. As your questionsuggests, this approach may seem problematic for patients with dementia. Suchpatients have diminished cognitive (and possibly affective) resources. To whatextent can such patients with contribute to their own psychotherapy? Clearly this is a matter of degree. As one’sabilities to reason, remember, and use language diminish, any form of therapywill be difficult to carry out. Person centered therapists who work with suchpatients are trained to take such limitations into account. In philosophy there is the synchronic problem of personhood,namely what makes someone a person at a time, and the diachronic problem ofpersonal identity, or what makes someone the same person at two differenttimes. ...