Why Computers Aren't People

A Sophia Lecture Sponsored by CCT and Azuza Pacific University

When
Wednesday, February 13, 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Where
Munson Chapel, Azusa Pacific University (East Campus)
Contact
Rachel Dee
562-777-4081

Abstract:

Computers are not, and cannot be, people, where “computers” is taken to include robots that have digital computers as their central control unit. People understand the messages they produce; computers don’t. People have thoughts and feelings; computers don’t. People have Mental Powers; computers don’t. If computers can’t be people, it also follows that people are not computers; that is, that their minds and brains do not function in the way compu­ters do. This suggests that many research programs in artificial intelligence are misdirected, in that they rest on the mistaken assumption that people’s minds and brains function in a computer-like fashion. This in turn raises further questions about when we should and should not allow our thinking to be guided by “expert authority.”

Suggested readings for this lecture:

  • Hasker, William, The Emergent Self (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999), ch.3.
  • Reppert, Victor, “The Argument from Reason,” in William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Malden, MA: Blackwell Books, 2009), pp. 344-390. 
  • Reppert, Victor, C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002)
  • Searle, John, 1980, “Minds, Brains and Programs,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3: 417–57
  • Turing, A. (1950), “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Mind, 59 (236): 433–60.
  • “A Turning Machine in the Classic Style” (link)
  • “Turing Machine” in Wikipedia (link)
  • “Zombies” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (link)
Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000