Instructions: The following questions ask you to explain the arguments and claim

Instructions: The following questions ask you to explain the arguments and claims made in the various readings done in week 3. Your responses to the questions should include complete explanations of the arguments—arguments use several steps of reasoning to establish a conclusion, and you must explain each step of reasoning when asked to explain an argument (do not just state an author’s conclusion). Your thoughts should be explained fully and completely. Although there is not page minimum (that is, you will be graded for the content of your response, not the length) it is unlikely you will be able to answer all of the question completely in less than 500-750 words.
Your questions this week are directly related to two of the possible paper topics. If you are considering these topics, you should write your reading response this week with the aim of making the content from the response into the core of the final paper.
You must answer all parts of ONE question below (but note that you should be able to answer both of the questions for the purposes of the test).
1. This is a multi-part question about Cartesian Dualism and Phelan et al.’s objection to it. Answer ALL parts.
In 3.4, you read about how Descartes argues that the mind and body are different substances that interact with each other. (1a.) How does Descartes define mind and body? (1b.) Explain one of the arguments that he gives to support the claim that the mind and body are different substances.
In the reading “Brain Damage, Mind Damage, and Dualism” (the uploaded reading), Phelan and his co-authors present the case of Clive Wearing, a man who developed severe amnesia after brain damage. (1c.) Explain how Phelan and his co-authors use this case to argue against Descartes’ dualistic view of the mind-body relationship (you will need to explain how they overcome the “distorted input and distorted output” possibilities in order to do this).
Cases like Clive Wearing’s seem to demonstrate that destroying parts of the brain can destroy core aspects of our selves, like our memories. Phelan et al. point out that this is troubling for anyone who believes that the soul is eternal and persists after death. At the end of the article they state:
“If the dualist has to embrace mind damage, then she must accept that the joy of remembrances of such past events dies with our physical body. And one might ask what good eternal life is for a soul that loses that.”
(1d.) Explain the point they are making in this quote, given the context of their argument in the article.
2. This is a multi-part question focused on 3.10 and Lycan’s “Robots and Minds” (uploaded week 3.2 reading)
In 3.10, you learned about the functionalist view of the mind. (2a). Explain how the functionalist view of the mind (endorsed by both Fodor and Lycan) defines mental states, and explain why, according to the functionalists’ conception of mental state, it is possible that sophisticated artificial intelligence could have conscious minds like ours.
In the uploaded reading “Robots and Minds”, Lycan defends the idea that there is no reason to think that sophisticated Artificial Intelligence wouldn’t have conscious minds like ours, and because of this, they deserve moral consideration. In order to give his argument, Lycan uses two fictional “people”, Harry and Henrietta, as examples. (2b.) Explain why Lycan thinks that denying that Harry has a conscious mind and part of the moral community is unjustified and then (2c). explain how Lycan uses Henrietta to further demonstrate this point.
Two of the things we often associate strongly with human minds (and tend to think AI cannot have) are free will and feelings (qualitative conscious experiences–actually feeling sad rather than just acting sad, for example). (2d). Pick either free will or qualitative conscious experiences and explain why Lycan thinks that sophisticated AI could have it.

Leave a Reply