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Androids And The Mind/Body Problem By Rebecca King

840 words - 4 pages

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Measure of a Man” makes a compelling argument on androids and the mind/body problem. The episode is about Lt. Commander Data who is an android who acts identically to human behavior. Data is put on trial to find out if he should have human rights or if he is considered property of Starfleet. The episode makes interesting points as to what qualifies a person of having a mind and soul.
William Hasker uses multiple categories to list out the different views on the mind/body problem in his book Metaphysics: Constructing a World View. Captain Picard, Data’s commanding officer and the defending attorney for Data’s case, would be classified as a ...view middle of the document...

73-75). Data being an android would not have a nervous system thus he would not have a soul making him a sentient.
The argument of whether Data is a sentient or not who is entitled to rights is concluded in the episode from the ruling of the JAG officer. She says in her final ruling that she is “neither competent nor qualified to answer” (Scheerer, 1989) the questions regarding the metaphysical questions reason during the trial. This makes it where she must only look at what evidence was presented to her. Since Data was able to pass Maddox test of what defines a sentient, the JAG officer must give him the ability to have rights. I believe her ruling is justified based off the evidence.
However, I do not think artificial intelligence will ever reach the level which is presented in Star Trek: The Next Generation with the android, Data. I do not see a possibility of creating an android which could think for itself and show emotion in turn which would act like a human. In order to reach the level of being like a human, the android would need to be programed that way. It could be argued that a sentient must be taught to walk which in a way is like programming. However, how a human being or even an animal learns is already built into the brain. If learning was not built in a human’s mind than how would a human learn...

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