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philosophy essay

philosophy essayOrder DescriptionFormat:
You are to write a paper of approximately 1400 words on the topic below. It should be double-spaced in a standard 12-point font with standard margins. It should have a descriptive title (not Paper #2) and an abstract. Please do not have a dedicated title or abstract page, and duplex (both sides of the page) printing is fine.An abstract is a short (usually less than 50 word) summary that states your thesis and the rough structure of your paper. You should assume that your reader has not read your abstract when s/he reads the body of your essay. You may use lines directly from your abstract in your introduction or elsewhere. Be sure your reader can distinguish abstract from body. One convention is to put the abstract in italics, single-spaced, with justified wide margins. Another way is to state Abstract above the abstract, and Body above the body.
Topic Preamble:
Imagine that your best friend was in a car accident. She tells you that she was briefly unconscious and woke up in the hospital, where she still is. Shes also told you that she has been feeling fine for the last couple of days, but the doctors have decided to keep her in for tests. While in the hospital visiting her, you have heard rumours of a patient who lacks a normal human brain, but otherwise seems to becompletely normal. Then you overhear the following conversation.Doctor #1: I think its pretty clear. Since the patient lacks a normal human brain, she does not have any mental states, since mental states are type-identical to states of the human brain.Doctor #2: I believe the patient has some mental states but not others. Since she is behaviourally indistinguishable from a regular human, she has those states that are characterized in terms of their function. But we have no reason to think she has any of the states that are characterized in terms of their purely qualitative aspects.Doctor #3: I think we need to know whether she has a Cartesian soul or not. I think she doesnt, because she doesnt have a normal human brain. So she does not have mental states.Doctor #4: Doctor #3thats ridiculous. How could we ever tell whether something has such a soul, and why would it have to have human brain? Similarly, Doctor #1you seem to think that a human brain is required. Isnt that mere prejudice? Doctor #2I dont understand (1) what these qualitative states could be, and (2) how we could know when anything had them. The patient is behaviourallyindistinguishable from a normal human, so she has the usual range of mental states, regardless of what is in her skull.Doctor #5: I disagree with all of you. I think we need to know exactly whats in her skull before speculating further. Although a human brain is not required for mental states, if whats in her head is a digital computer, then clearly she has no mental states at all.Just then, the doctors notice that you are listening; they stop talking.
Actual Topic:
Is it more reasonable to think that the patient has the usual range of mental states, no mental states, or only some kinds of mental states and not others?Your main task is to answer this question and to present an argument that supports your answer. You must also consider some alternatives to your view. This means you should engage with at least two of the views of the doctors in the little vignette above. Hintthey are supposed to represent some of the theories were looking at.You should have a thesis, defend it, and, in effect, aIDress an objection to your view. Which of the doctors positions you spend the most time on will depend on what you think. Also, you may flesh out what you take to be their positions, provided your expanded version is consistent with that theyve said above.It would be unwise to try to engage with all five doctors views. Two is probably the right number, though three might also work.You may find that you agree with one of the doctors conclusion, but for reasons different from the ones that doctor presents. Thats fine.


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