Animal automatism and machine intelligence

Brown, Deborah (2015) Animal automatism and machine intelligence. Res Philosophica, 92 1: 93-115. doi:10.11612/resphil.2015.92.1.2

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Author Brown, Deborah
Title Animal automatism and machine intelligence
Journal name Res Philosophica   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2168-9105
Publication date 2015-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.11612/resphil.2015.92.1.2
Open Access Status
Volume 92
Issue 1
Start page 93
End page 115
Total pages 23
Place of publication Charlottesville, VA, United States
Publisher Philosophy Documentation Center
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Descartes’s uncompromising rejection of the possibility of animal intelligence was among his most controversial theses. That rejection is based on (1) his commitment to the doctrine of animal automatism and (2) two tests that he takes to be sufficient indicators of thought (the action and language tests). Of these two tests, only the language test is truly definitive, and Descartes is firmly of the view that no animal could demonstrate the capacity to use signs to convey meaning in “all the circumstances of life.” The topic is fascinating for forcing us to ponder what exactly reason is for Descartes and the role it plays in everyday life. This article explores the tensions in Descartes’s arguments produced by an over reliance on the analogy between animals and clocks, including the question of what to make of Descartes’s recognition of the need to posit representational and information-processing subsystems in the brain.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Tue, 27 Jan 2015, 09:10:54 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry