After completing the assigned reading for this unit, respond to the following:
What do you understand Locke’s claim about personal identity to be? In other words, for Locke, what makes us us? And how does Michaels’ thought experiment about Wanda challenge Locke’s view(s)? In your response, be sure to make specific references to the readings by Locke and Michaels.
Personal Identity and Genetic Modification
In Chapter 6, you read about problems of self/personal identity, the difficulties in answering the question ‘who am I?’ Recent developments in genetic technology are making issues of personal identity radically different than they have ever been. In the very near future, we may be able to create designer people; personal identity, though we do not even agree on what that is, may be malleable in ways previously only possible in fiction. Watch the Ted Talk “The Ethical Dilemma of Designer Babies” and then answer the following:
What are the two points made by Paul Knoepfler that resonated with you most? (this might mean scared you the most, intrigued you the most, and the like). Do you agree with Knoepfler that, at least for now, we should ban the genetic modification of humans? Why or why not? And, if you could genetically modify yourself, alter your personal identity in some way, would you do it?! Explain.
“The Ethical Dilemma of Designer Babies.” YouTube, uploaded by Ted, 10 Feb. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOHbn8Q1fBM. Accessed 29 April 2020.
Who Are You?
Watch the video below on personhood and the one on arguments against personal identity, and then answer these questions: Which of the theories about personal identity do you find the most plausible/convincing and why? Which of the arguments against personal identity do you find most plausible/convincing and why?
Personhood: Crash Course Philosophy #21. YouTube video file. [9:13]. CrashCourse. 2016, Jul 25. youtu.be/GxM9BZeRrUI
Personhood: Crash Course Philosophy #20. YouTube video file. [9:43]. CrashCourse. 2016, Jul 11. youtu.be/17WiQ_tNld4
The Mind-Body Problem
After reading Chapter 5 and watching the video below on the mind-body problem, do the following:
state your understanding of the mind-body problem
explain which view of the mind most agrees with your understanding of ‘mind.’ Are you a dualist? A materialist? Explain why; defend your position with reasons.
Where Does Your Mind Reside?: Crash Course Philosophy #22. YouTube video file. [9:06]. Crashcourse. 2016, Aug 1. youtu.be/3SJROTXnmus
Section C of Chapter 5 contains various readings that discuss rejections of dualism, the view that the world contains physical and nonphysical ‘stuff’ and that humans also contain physical and nonphysical ‘stuff’, typically that the mind is nonphysical and the body is, of course, physical. After reading Chapter 5, choose one of the readings in Section C, provide a brief explanation of its rejection of dualism, and then give your own response to the argument.
AI and Personhood
Saudi Arabia recently granted the status of citizenship to a robot, Sophia. Read this article about Sophia and watch the video below to see her speak to a live audience. Given recent advancements in the development of sophisticated AI, what do you see as the implications for human beings? Do you think we have moral responsibilities to such creations? Should we consider them ‘persons’? Defend your answer with reasons for your position(s). Often in this thread, students write comments such as ‘AI will never be human’ or ‘no, I do not and will not ever consider AI to be human.’ BUT!!! Note that we are discussing whether AI should be considered persons, not humans. Clearly, to be human means to have human DNA etc., so, AI cannot be human. Make sure to focus your comments on the potential personhood of AI.
Weller, Chris. “Meet the Fist-ever Robot Citizen – A Humanoid Named Sophia That Once Said It Would ‘destroyhumans’”. Business Insider. 27 Oct 2017.
Interview with the Lifelike Hot Robot Named Sophia (Full) | NBC. YouTube video file. [5:04]. CNBC. 2017, Oct 25. youtu.be/S5t6K9iwcdw
www.read.bi/2KzpzUX. Accessed 30 April 2018.
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