0

In every age, philosophers have compared the human mind to the latest technological gizmo. Currently we use computers as models of our minds. Seventy-five years ago, our minds were compared to telephone switchboards. In the 19th Century minds were compared to telegraph machines. In the 17th Century minds were compared to hydraulic machines. This pattern goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who compared the mind to a catapult, because the mind “throws you” from one idea to the next. In another couple of centuries, the idea that the mind is comparable to a computer will seem as quaint as the idea that the mind is comparable to a catapult.

  • Try to identify the conclusion and they go back to search for the premsies. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 22 '18 at 17:58
  • Yes if this is an argument, as it seems, I'm trying to identify the conclusion. The only thing is I'm having trouble deciding is if the conclusion would be "In another couple of centuries, the idea that the mind is comparable to a computer will seem as quaint as the idea that mind is comparable to a catapult." or "In every age, philosophers have compared the human mind to the latest technological gizmo." – Peachy Apr 22 '18 at 18:00
  • There are some "facts" : "Currently we use computers ...", "Seventy-five years ago..." They are used to support (not to prove) the generalization : "In every age, philosophers have compared the human mind to the latest technological gizmo." Then there is some hidden steps : "In another couple of centuries some new invention will supplant computers as the latest tech gizmo." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 22 '18 at 18:04
  • From all this stuff we concluse (?) that "In another couple of centuries there will be a new model of the mind based on the latest tech gizmo that has supplanted computers." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 22 '18 at 18:05
  • 1
    I would say it is an argument. An inductive argument to be sure: Given that several times in the past we have compared the mind to the latest gizmo at that time, only to be shown wrong at some later time, we conclude that the same thing will happen to the latest comparison (which is with a computer). As premises, you can take each of the past comparisons (telephone, telegraph, hydraulic machines, catapult), and you can have them either directly go to the conclusion (computer analogy will be wrong too), or have an intermediate: mind will always (mistakenly) be compared to latest gizmo – Bram28 Apr 22 '18 at 19:28
1

I would say it is an argument. The claim that the computer analogy will turn out to be quint is a controversial claim, an the author is trying to garner support for it by pointing to past analogies, saying that what they all have in common is the comparison to whatever the latest gizmo is.

The argument is thus an inductive argument: Given that several times in the past we have compared the mind to the latest gizmo at that time, only to be shown wrong at some later time, we conclude that the same thing will happen to the latest comparison (which is with a computer).

As premises, you can take each of the past comparisons (telephone, telegraph, hydraulic machines, catapult), and you can have them either directly go to the conclusion (computer analogy will be wrong too), or have an intermediate result: "the mind will always (mistakenly) be compared to latest gizmo", and then draw the conclusion (computer analogy will be wrong too) from there

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.