Lucas Against Mechanism II
Lewis (David)
Source: Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Sep., 1979), pp. 373-376
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. J. R. Lucas serves warning that he stands ready to refute any sufficiently specific accusation that he is a machine. Let any mechanist say, to his face, that he is some particular machine M; Lucas will respond by producing forthwith a suitable Godel sentence φM. Having produced φM, he will then argue that - given certain credible premises about himself - he could not have done so if the accusation that he was M had been true. Let the mechanist try again; Lucas will counter him again in the same way. It is not possible to accuse Lucas truly of being a machine1.
  2. I used to think2 that the accusing mechanist interlocutor was an expository frill, and that Lucas was really claiming to be able to do something that no machine could do. But I was wrong; Lucas insists that the interlocutor does play an essential role. He Writes that 'the argument is a dialectical one. It is not a direct proof that the mind is something more than a machine; but a schema of disproof for any particular version of mechanism that may be put forward. If the mechanist maintains any specific thesis, I show that a contradiction ensues. But only if. It depends on the mechanist making the first move and putting forward his claim for inspection."
  3. Very well. I promise to take the dialectical character of Lucas's argument more seriously this time - and that shall be his downfall.



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: See "Lucas (J.R.) - Minds, Machines and Gödel".

Footnote 2: See "Lewis (David) - Lucas Against Mechanism".


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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