In Dale W. Jamieson (ed.), Language, Mind and Art. Kluwer Academic Publishers (1994)

Douglas C. Long
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Over three decades ago, in a brief but provocative essay, Paul Ziff argued for the thesis that robots cannot have feelings because they are "mechanisms, not organisms, not living creatures. There could be a broken-down robot but not a dead one. Only living creatures can literally have feelings."[i] Since machines are not living things they cannot have feelings. In the first half of my paper I review Ziff's arguments against the idea that robots could be conscious, especially his appeal to our linguistic usage. In the second half of the essay I try to provide a deeper ontological understanding of why we ought not attribute minds to nonliving artifacts. I argue that inanimate mechanisms are incapable of genuinely active and purposive behavior. They are importantly different in kind from living human beings and animals.
Keywords Robots  Artifical intelligence  Paul Ziff  Animate behavior  Thinking machines  mentality  biological purpose
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On the Matter of Robot Minds.Brian P. McLaughlin & David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy.

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