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Synthese

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

Is the human mind a Turing machine?

  • David King
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Physical System Turing Machine Human Mind Actual Infinite Potential Infinite 
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 1996

Authors and Affiliations

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

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