Walter Massing (1995) Metaphysical Windmills in Robotland . Psycoloquy: 6(16) Robot Consciousness (11)
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Psycoloquy 6(16): Metaphysical Windmills in Robotland

Book Review of Bringsjord on Robot-Consciousness

Walter Massing
Day Clinic of the Langenhagen Psychiatric Clinic
Koenigstrasse 6a
D-30175 Hannover Germany


One of the main difficulties in Bringsjord's book What Robots Can and Can't Be (1992, 1994) arises due to the fact that concepts such as "person", "free will" and "introspection" are metaphysical and cannot be subjected to empirical scrutiny. Central statements such as "project to build a person" (PBP) are imprecisely formulated, for PBP is not a project, but is at best a prediction. Finally, Bringsjord's method is inadequately defined when he speaks of "precise deductive arguments which sometimes border on proofs," for deduction should not be regarded as a method but as a rule. Without going all the way down the road of the "eight clusters of philosophical issues," we will take a look at natural language as well as the more stringent Turing Test and the Goedel argument.


behaviorism, Chinese Room Argument, cognition, consciousness, finite automata, free will, functionalism, introspection, mind, story generation, Turing machines, Turing Test.