Mechanism — Arguments PRO and CON

  • R. J. Nelson
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 155)


There are two positive arguments for mechanism which will be presented in this chapter. The first is an argument from analogy which says that digital computers and human beings share an extremely large and ever-growing body of intelligent behaviors, and since a computer is an automaton so is a man. The second, which rests on a certain claim about psychological explanations to the effect that nothing counts as an explanation of intelligence that appeals to unanalyzable chunks of intelligence, says that automata descriptions afford exactly such noncircular explanations. A further claim, namely that a strictly behaviorist method cannot account for all mental features, will be laid in the next chapter.


Turing Machine Digital Computer Mental Feature Finite Automaton Mechanical Irritation 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Truman P. Handy Professor of PhilosophyCase Western Reserve UniversityUSA

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