Kants Principle Of Humanity Philosophy Essay
1. The year is 2050 and scientists have recently discovered teletransportation. There are three different methods of long distance travel available:
When you step into the machine, your body and brain are scanned. Then the particles making up your body are broken down and trans-ported to the desired location. Once there, they are reassembled exactly the way they were the moment of the scan. The person at the end has all your memories and personality.
The particles of our previous body, (before the teletransportation) are broken down and then reassembled at the desired location. The memories and personalities remain intact. The body and mind would survive, thus the soul would as well.
b. Your body and brain are scanned as before, however on this method, the particles making up your body are broken down and remain at the original location. At your desired destination, a body is created with new particles based on the scan. Those new particles are assembled exactly the way the original particles were at the moment of the scan. The person at the end has all your memories and personality.
The particles of our previous body are broken down, but this time, new particles reassemble our bodies at the new location. The memories and personalities stay intact, even with the presence of the new body.
c. Your entire body is put into a state of stasis and revived once it arrives via spaceship at your desired destination. The body remains in exactly the same condition it was in when it entered stasis. Unfortunately, some moderate to severe memory loss and personality change results from this process.
A very big problem is evident in this scenario. Our body is placed into a state of stasis and then revived. We do not know for how long our bodies will be at rest, and if enough time is given, our bodies will biologically fail. The proof follows; as some moderate damage is done to our memory and personality. The significant thing in this case, it that we lose some of ourselves: our souls.
In the end, option A �seems� to hold the most likelihood of success, but option C is the best choice for survival. The teleportation scenario is hiding something. The true question is �are you the same person before and after?� The obvious answer is �yes,� but a lapse in consciousness when transported is the problem. After the transport, the �new you� could be a new person with the memories and personalities of the �old you.� This is reasonable to assume because, the �old you� has not experienced a life-ending event. There is no cessation of mental activity, but just the consciousness. In scenarios A and B, both transporters disassemble the body, and a �new� body is formed on the other side. This reduction of the physical body and mind is a life ending experience; which leads to the idea that the person transported is not you, but a clone. In situation C, something is not clear. It is because of the absence of teleportation, that the body is put into stasis. And this stasis does not disassemble or reassemble our matter. Death (so to speak) is not undergone, of the body or the mind, thus the person put into stasis and revived is the same person: you. Additionally, there is no reason to assume the cessation of mental and biological activity, and that �you� changed. Therefore, option C, provides enough information to conclude that this is the best chance of surviving, albeit damage to the memories and personalities.
2. According to Kant's principle of Humanity, Kant states never to treat another human being as a mere means and Jack is doing just that by torturing the prisoner until he talks. The prisoner is what is keeping Jack from foiling the terrorist plot. The problem is that the consequences that follow are considered good. Although the motive; to find out where the bomb is, is alone not a discussion of right or wrong, the action Jack takes; to torture the prisoner, is wrong, thus the motive is wrong/bad. In doing this, Jack has acted on moral duty; a duty not proposed by force, but by a literal obligation to humanity. Respectively, the story does not provide information as to if Jack did indeed save those lives: �Jack is able to save thousands of lives.� Not knowing the events that precede the capture of the prisoner or events following, is a problem. A problem in that, Jack�s true �good will� cannot be known. Jack may have acted according to a �good� moral or, because Jack had immoral intentions behind it. Kant even says that the consequences of an act cannot be used to determine the will; because good consequences could occur from a bad situation/action or, a bad consequence from a good situation/action. But, according to the information provided, Jack acted on a moral standpoint, and cannot be considered �intrinsically good� or �good without qualification.� And it is because we do not know the �good will� of Jack, the argument of the Kantian deontology is right to assume that there is no rightness: With the idea that goodness depends on rightness.
Utilitarians believe that whatever promotes the greatest good and the greatest well-being for the most people is the right thing to do. Then according to the story, Jack has saved thousands of lives which mean the overall consequence is good. Foiling the terrorist plot was acted on for the greater good and Jack had tortured the prisoner to do this. The �sacrifice� or the action of �bad� is done for a greater outcome; humanity�s survival. The moral obligation Jack had manifested into saving those lives; in other words, it is because Jack knew people needed help, he should do something about it. The �Principal of Utility� then comes into effect, as the actions Jack took follow it.
Principal of Utility
1. We should be guided by the consequences of our actions � we should also do whatever can be reasonably expected to have the best outcome.
2. We should care only about the benefits and harms that would be caused-we should do whatever will cause the greatest benefits and the least significant harms.
3. Each person�s welfare is as important as anyone else�s.
Going by this theory, Jack�s actions had the expected outcome of thousands of lives being saved, which was the best outcome in that situation. The benefit of this is that lives could be saved, and New York would not be damaged. Whether or not Jack knew, he did what utilitarians would have done, except in one case: The prisoner. Jack had tortured the prisoner for a better outcome yes, but the third; �Each person�s welfare is as important as anyone else�s,� is where the problem arises. The welfare of the prisoner was not taken into consideration by Jack; he used the prisoner as a means to an end, for greater good. Then again, according to 2, Jack had sufficed this �requirement.� The greatest benefit came from foiling the plan, and the least harm (prisoner) which led to people surviving.
3. Searle�s thought experiment is a hypothetical idea which supposes a �strong AI� can successfully run a computer program to �translate� and �produce� other Chinese texts in response to Chinese characters. The computer is successful enough to pass a Turning test, and convince a human Chinese speaker that the AI itself is a live Chinese speaker. Searle then asks if the computer literally understands Chinese or simulating and manipulating characters to �seem� understanding. Searle then proposes that he himself is in a closed room with an English book of the programming commands the computer in the thought experiment used. Searle received Chinese letters through the door and processes them according to the programming rules. The output is a production of some Chinese text enough to pass the Turing test, like the computer did. The significant thing to mention is that, by simply following programming rules, a person or a computer can simulate intelligent behavior. Whether or not understanding is achieved, is what philosophers argue. It is because the computer/AI does not have a �mind� or its �thinking� cannot be known, the �strong AI� is wrong. Searle talks about the Brain Simulator Replay: The computer is fashioned with a �brain� which simulates the sequences of neuron firing at the synapses of a Chinese speaker when he understands and reads Chinese texts. Furthermore, the computer should then understand the text or else deny that the Chinese speaker knows the language. If the level of neuron firing at the synapses is the same as a Chinese human speaker, then the computer should understand. Searle insists that the problem is that the brain is not proficient enough to produce understanding. The important chemical-physical connections within a human brain are special to only those human. And the computer will only have a �formal structure of the sequence of neuron firings.� In an argumentative state, Searle does a fairly decent job of explaining the incorrect theory. He is right that the simulation brain cannot understand. For a computer to understand language and words, external sensory projections (to associate images, sounds and other senses) is needed. Language is an exceptional problem, which requires linking of the sensory fields. Without the experience of objects through a real world and mind, the computer does not know the aggregate of sensory information which humans experience. Furthermore, computers do not �really know� the human language; it is because a computer is designed to run programs which are not concerned with real things, but internal electrical hardware. A computer can easily translate and construct sentences based on thousands of algorithms and produce an efficient output, but the computer is not aware of the interaction of language in the real world. The manipulation of words and symbols does not signify understanding of the language, even if viable outputs are produced.
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