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From the PLATO Philosopher's Toolkit


Snooping Around Snopes: Assessing Assessments of Fake News

Snopes.com has become an indispensable and entertaining site for assessing the status of the urban legends and fake news stories that fascinate us.   Any teacher or parent of high school students in the early fall of 2016 had to

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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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