Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Mind-Body Problem

"An Exercise in Integration: An interdisciplinary discussion of the Mind-Body Problem with special application to issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence.


There has been wide ranging debate on the topic of the mind and its connection with the brain and the body. The participants in this discourse fall into one of two categories. They believe that humanity is composed of basically two types of substance, the dualist, or they believe that humanity is composed of one basic substance, the monists. While evidence exists to support some of the claims of both parties there are extremists in each position that clearly miss the truth.

I believe the theory postulated by John Cooper (1989) called functional holism is the best and most Biblical framework within which to handle the data concerning this issue. Cooper (1989) states there are two basic types of components that make up human beings, yet while alive the human person is such an indivisible unity that mind and body mutually influence one another constantly and intimately. The superiority of this position over other theories such as Cartesian dualism, Hebraic monism, and materialism lies in the fact that functional holism best accounts for all the evidence available, not just some of it. Functional holism can explain the medical data that shows that the mind and brain are inseparable in living human beings, and yet provides a framework wherein the Biblical teachings of soul, afterlife, the intermediate state, and the resurrection do not need to be compromised.

From this theoretical framework I will then integrate scientific and Biblical data, as well as, critiquing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) movement, and its requisite materialist presuppositional underpinnings. I will conclude that since AI's presuppositions are found wanting, then its stated goals of creating machines that are truly intelligent and of making computer copies, or uploads, of individuals are unattainable."

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