, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 399–417 | Cite as

Artificial intelligence and personal identity

  • David Cole


Considerations of personal identity bear on John Searle's Chinese Room argument, and on the opposed position that a computer itself could really understand a natural language. In this paper I develop the notion of a virtual person, modelled on the concept of virtual machines familiar in computer science. I show how Searle's argument, and J. Maloney's attempt to defend it, fail. I conclude that Searle is correct in holding that no digital machine could understand language, but wrong in holding that artificial minds are impossible: minds and persons are not the same as the machines, biological or electronic, that realize them.


Artificial Intelligence Computer Science Natural Language Virtual Machine Personal Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of Minnesota/DuluthDuluthUSA

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