Will Hominoids or Androids Destroy the Earth? —A Review of How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil (2012) (review revised 2019)

In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century -- Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 4th Edition Michael Starks. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 265-277 (2019)
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Abstract
Some years ago, I reached the point where I can usually tell from the title of a book, or at least from the chapter titles, what kinds of philosophical mistakes will be made and how frequently. In the case of nominally scientific works these may be largely restricted to certain chapters which wax philosophical or try to draw general conclusions about the meaning or long term significance of the work. Normally however the scientific matters of fact are generously interlarded with philosophical gibberish as to what these facts mean. The clear distinctions which Wittgenstein described some 80 years ago between scientific matters and their descriptions by various language games are rarely taken into consideration, and so one is alternately wowed by the science and dismayed by its incoherent analysis. So it is with this volume. If one is to create a mind more or less like ours, one needs to have a logical structure for rationality and an understanding of the two systems of thought (dual process theory). If one is to philosophize about this, one needs to understand the distinction between scientific issues of fact and the philosophical issue of how language works in the context at issue, and of how to avoid the pitfalls of reductionism and scientism, but Kurzweil, like most students of behavior, is largely clueless. He is enchanted by models, theories, and concepts, and the urge to explain, while Wittgenstein showed us that we only need to describe, and that theories, concepts etc., are just ways of using language (language games) which have value only insofar as they have a clear test (clear truthmakers, or as John Searle (AI’s most famous critic) likes to say, clear Conditions of Satisfaction (COS)). I have attempted to provide a start on this in my recent writings. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019)
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