The Lion, the Bat & the Thermostat: Metaphors on Consciousness

5 Savannah Law Review 13 (2018)

32 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2017 Last revised: 16 Aug 2018

See all articles by Brian L. Frye

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: November 24, 2017

Abstract

Can robots have rights? It depends on the meaning of “robots” and “rights.” Different kinds of robots can have different kinds of rights. Robots can already have the rights of things, and may soon be able to have the rights of legal entities. But it is unclear whether robots can have the rights of animals or persons. It probably depends on what theory of mind is true: dualist, reductionist, or agnostic. Under a dualist theory, robots can have rights if they possess a soul or other form of mental substance. Under a reductionist theory, robots can have rights if they are conscious, or at least functionally identical to a human or animal. And under an agnostic theory, it depends on how brains actually work. Philosophers often use metaphors to explore problems they do not understand, and philosophers of mind are no exception. I will describe three metaphors used by philosophers of mind - the lion, the bat, and the thermostat - and reflect on how those metaphors may illuminate our speculations on the possibility of “robot rights.”

Keywords: AI, artificial intelligence, robots, philosophy of mind, rights, legal personhood

Suggested Citation

Frye, Brian L., The Lion, the Bat & the Thermostat: Metaphors on Consciousness (November 24, 2017). 5 Savannah Law Review 13 (2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3077053

Brian L. Frye (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.uky.edu/directory/brian-l-frye

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
124
Abstract Views
1,003
rank
227,381
PlumX Metrics