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From the PLATO Philosopher's Toolkit


Nagel’s What is it like to be a bat?

In his article, “What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues that there are facts about the conscious experience that are subjective and can only be known from that subjective perspective. Even if we know all the

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Searle’s Chinese Room: Do computers think?

Can a computer think? John Searle’s Chinese Room argument can be used to argue that computers do not “think,” that computers do not understand the symbols that they process. For example, if you’re typing an email to your friend on

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Animal Minds: puzzling over Puppies and Parrots

For much of modern science, since the Enlightenment, animals were generally thought to be automatons:  materialist robots programmed to behave in certain ways.  Rene Descartes drew a sharp distinction between thinking beings, humans, and everything else, matter.  20th Century behaviorism

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Personal Identity in Memento

  Personal Identity I ask students to bring their baby or early childhood pictures to class. After they try matching names with images of their classmates, I ask a question about their own picture: Are you the same person today

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