, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 379–389 | Cite as

Is the human mind a Turing machine?

  • David King


In this paper I discuss the topics of mechanism and algorithmicity. I emphasise that a characterisation of algorithmicity such as the Turing machine is iterative; and I argue that if the human mind can solve problems that no Turing machine can, the mind must depend on some non-iterative principle — in fact, Cantor's second principle of generation, a principle of the actual infinite rather than the potential infinite of Turing machines. But as there has been theorisation that all physical systems can be represented by Turing machines, I investigate claims that seem to contradict this: specifically, claims that there are noncomputable phenomena. One conclusion I reach is that if it is believed that the human mind is more than a Turing machine, a belief in a kind of Cartesian dualist gulf between the mental and the physical is concomitant.


Physical System Turing Machine Human Mind Actual Infinite Potential Infinite 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David King
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesMurdoch UniversityAustralia

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