Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Androids and Animals

by Michael Dorf

My latest Verdict column is titled Do Androids Dream of Animal Rights?.  I usually write a blog post to go with each column, but it's practically New Year's Eve, so I'll simply invite readers to check out the column and post any comments either on Verdict or here.

Happy New Year


John Boanerges Redman said...

You obviously do not follow Dilbert where Scott repeatedly entertains us with this very theme (and quite recently, too). The robot now has a soul and can code but must endure Wally as a responsibility. Good laugh below where I'm to prove that I'm not a robot.

barcrunchsub said...

The connection between animal rights and artificial intelligence may be linked in another way as well, through intelligence augmentation. There is a belief that humans may be able to vastly improve their problem solving ability and memory by some technological means, such as a permanently implanted brain-computer interface. (Instead of wearing Google Glasses, someone could opt for implanted Google Neurons instead) Still science fiction, but should it become possible it seems likely that it would be tried on an animal first. Animal rights may be harder to deny when some porcine Fredrick Douglas is demanding it.

Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

"Is true artificial sentience possible? That is a scientific and technological question to which we do not yet have the answer." That is eminently arguable, at least for some of us who would contend that this is rather in the first instance a philosophical (especially metaphysical and philosophy of mind) question. The following works, I think, help one see why this is (or should be) the case:

• Bennett, M.R. and P.M.S. Hacker. Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.
• Bennett, Maxwell, Daniel Dennett, Peter Hacker, John Searle, and Daniel Robinson. Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind and Language. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. (I prefer the arguments of Bennett, Hacker, and Robinson over Dennett and Searle.)
• Descombes, Vincent (Stephen Adam Schwartz, tr.). The Mind’s Provisions: A Critique of Cognitivism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.
• Finkelstein, David H. Expression and the Inner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
• Gillett, Grant. Subjectivity and Being Somebody: Human Identity and Neuroethics. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, 2008.
• Gillett, Grant. The Mind and Its Discontents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 2009.
• Hacker, P.M.S. Human Nature: The Categorial Framework. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.
• Hacker, P.M.S. The Intellectual Powers: A Study of Human Nature. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
• Hodgson, David. The Mind Matters: Consciousness and Choice in a Quantum World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991
• Horst, Steven. Beyond Reduction: Philosophy of Mind and Post-Reductionist Philosophy of Science. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007.
• Hutto, Daniel D. The Presence of Mind. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1999.
• Hutto, Daniel D. Beyond Physicalism. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000.
• Hutto, Daniel D. Folk Psychological Narratives: The Sociocultural Basis of Understanding. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
• Pardo, Michael S. and Dennis Patterson. Minds, Brains, and Law: The Conceptual Foundations of Law and Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
• Robinson, Daniel N. Consciousness and Mental Life. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
• Smith, Christian. What Is a Person? Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
• Tallis, Raymond. The Explicit Animal: A Defence of Human Consciousness. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999 ed.
• Tallis, Raymond. The Hand: A Philosophical Inquiry into Human Being. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003.
• Tallis, Raymond. I Am: An Inquiry into First-Person Being. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.
• Tallis, Raymond. The Knowing Animal: A Philosophical Inquiry into Knowledge and Truth. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.
• Tallis, Raymond. Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. Durham, England: Acumen, 2011.
• Travis, Charles. Unshadowed Thought: Representation in Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

John Boanerges Redman said...

Still think that the thoughts of Scott Adams (Dilbert) deserve a place here for the questions he raises. Again, I'm not a robot

Joe said...

"Again, I'm not a robot"

So you say.