Guilty Robots, Happy Dogs: The Question of Alien Minds

Paperback | April 15, 2009

byDavid McFarland

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When we interact with animals, we intuitively read thoughts and feelings into their expressions and actions - it is easy to suppose that they have minds like ours. And as technology grows more sophisticated, we might soon find ourselves interpreting the behaviour of robots too in human terms.It is natural for us to humanize other beings in this way, but is it philosophically or scientifically justifiable? How different might the minds of animals or machines be to ours? As David McFarland asks here, could robots ever feel guilty, and is it correct to suppose your dog can truly be happy?Can we ever know what non-human minds might be like, or will the answer be forever out of our reach? These are central and important questions in the philosophy of mind, and this book is an accessible exploration of the differing philosophical positions that can be taken on the issue. McFarland looks not only at philosophy, but also examines new evidence from the science of animal behaviour plusthe latest developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, to show how many different - and sometimes surprising - conclusions we can draw about the nature of 'alien minds'.

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When we interact with animals, we intuitively read thoughts and feelings into their expressions and actions - it is easy to suppose that they have minds like ours. And as technology grows more sophisticated, we might soon find ourselves interpreting the behaviour of robots too in human terms.It is natural for us to humanize other being...

David McFarland is Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, having retired from his post of University Reader in Animal Behaviour at the Department of Zoology in 2000. Since then he has held a post as Professor of Biological Robotics at the University of the West of England, and is currently President of Casa Cantarilla, an Associa...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.02 inPublished:April 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199219303

ISBN - 13:9780199219308

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Table of Contents

Preface. Traffic robot1. Mindless machines2. Design of animals and robots3. Interpreting behaviour4. Beyond automata5. Mental possibilities6. The feeling of being7. The material mind8. Mental autonomyEpilogue. The Alien Mind

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition Cutting edge.'financial times.