“Must a Machine be an Automaton?”

  • J. O. Wisdom


Some of you fellow-robots may have been brainwashed into a doctrine of reductionism; at any rate let us suppose that this particular Colloquium implies that we must reduce everything to something else, biology to physics, sociology to biology, mind to body, and so on. I happen to have been brainwashed the other way. So there is some kind of dichotomy of robots.


Mental Attribute Autonomous Control Perceptual Consciousness Alternative Question Inanimate Matter 
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  1. 1.
    If you go back to Cartesian days, animals were considered to be machines, yet they had mental attributes of a sort; an animal had perceptual consciousness, recognized smells and foods and things of that sort. So before the tradition I am considering, there was yet a different conception of a machine.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. O. Wisdom, “Mentality and Machines,” Proc. Arist. Soc., Sup. Vol. 26, London, 1952, 1–26.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    We have, no doubt, the difficulty to face of understanding how thinking and other mental processes might have evolved out of material systems, and secondly to understand how they might have evolved out of such systems in such a way as to develop a measure of autonomy. But there are parallels that make such a model conceivable. (J. O. Wisdom, “Some Main Mind-Body Problems,” Proc. Arist. Soc., London, 1960, 60.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. O. Wisdom
    • 1
  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada

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