•  
  •  
 

Episteme

Article Title

Episteme Vol. XV

Abstract

"Kant's Proof of a Universal Principle of Causality: A Transcendental Idealist's Reply to Hume" by Reza Mahmoodshahi

In the Second Analogy of the Critique of Pure Reason, is Kant directly responding to Hume? The author argues that he must be, otherwise his arguments about succession and irreversibility (the house and the ship) fall victim to P. F. Strawson’s “non sequitur” criticism. Kant believes that our experience of successive objective events presupposes the application of the causal category, obviously a crucial part of Kant’s notion of the understanding. So long as we keep in mind that Kant depends strongly on his underlying doctrine of transcendental idealism, the author grants Lewis White Beck’s defense of Kant, in alluding to B234 of the Critique, which supposedly implies that Kant is aware of the need for Strawson’s conditions of non-coexistence and perpetual isomorphism to be rendered as given. More generally, this paper explores the nature of Kant’s thoughts on causality in the wake of Hume’s revolutionary ideas.

"Afraid of the Dark: Nagel and Rationalizing the Fear of Death" by Jennifer Lundsford

What should be said about the Thomas Nagel/O. H. Green interpretation of why people fear death? Since Nagel focuses only on the non-state of death (ignoring the state of dying), he concludes that it is the deprivation of life that people fear. Green, who shares with Nagel similar organizing thoughts, argues that a fear of loss of life is equivalent to the fear of death, since people really fear not living (any) longer. But this paper’s author sees more logic to Nagel’s position. But is Nagel correct? Has Nagel’s article on death wrongly brushed aside the legitimately rational idea that people fear death because they misunderstand what it is like to be dead? The author answers, Yes!, and imagines a scenario in which it is precisely the awareness of the logical impossibility of knowing what death is like that causes the feeling of a fearful mystery.

"The Ghost in the Machine: A Defense of the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence" by Matt Carlson

The Chinese Room argument shows that the Turing test functions only by syntax, thereby revealing that the notion of meaning is not properly accounted for by the test. Thus, Searle is convincing in his refutation of the Turing test for strong artificial intelligence. Yet, while the mind is not like a program running on certain hardware, the brain is. But thinking, Searle’s real interest, is not simply running the appropriate program! Therefore, rather than providing a solution to the Mind-Body problem, Searle’s conclusion about AI begs the question about what causes semantics. Searle’s logic goes awry somewhere, and, for this author, Searle errs when he claims that syntax is insufficient for semantics. Since Searle seems committed to the idea that “brains cause minds,” couldn’t a sufficiently sophisticated artificial brain (such as an advanced digital computer) cause an artificial mind? Doesn’t Searle, himself, admit as much?

"Functionalism and Artificial Intelligence" by Kevin Connor

The Chinese Room argument shows that the Turing test functions only by syntax, thereby revealing that the notion of meaning is not properly accounted for by the test. Thus, Searle is convincing in his refutation of the Turing test for strong artificial intelligence. Yet, while the mind is not like a program running on certain hardware, the brain is. But thinking, Searle’s real interest, is not simply running the appropriate program! Therefore, rather than providing a solution to the Mind-Body problem, Searle’s conclusion about AI begs the question about what causes semantics. Searle’s logic goes awry somewhere, and, for this author, Searle errs when he claims that syntax is insufficient for semantics. Since Searle seems committed to the idea that “brains cause minds,” couldn’t a sufficiently sophisticated artificial brain (such as an advanced digital computer) cause an artificial mind? Doesn’t Searle, himself, admit as much?

Included in

Philosophy Commons

Share

COinS