Does Watson Have a Mind?

There has been much discussion about the recent appearance on Jeopardy of a computer named Watson. Watson has played against human contestants, and has provided uncannily accurate answers to some questions. Can Watson actually think? Does Watson have a mind?

What is a Human Embryo?

Tantalus Prime and I have been discussing abortion. Tantalus takes exception to my observation that human life begins at conception. He believes that the humanity of a human zygote/embryo/fetus isn’t a scientific fact, but merely a matter of linguistics: The exact moment at which a fertilizing egg becomes human… is a horrible scientific question! Is asking the exact size beyond which a stream becomes a river a good scientific question? Of course not, because this is not an empirical problem but one of definition. Define the term human however you want, but don’t pretend it is an empirical question to be solved. Scientists can’t even agree on what constitutes a living organism, so what makes you think pinpointing the demarcation Read More ›