Thus, the source of an apparent thing’s activities is not the whole itself, difference between machine and mechanism pdf its parts or an external influence on the parts. There is no constant meaning in the history of philosophy for the word Mechanism.
Originally, the term meant that cosmological theory which ascribes the motion and changes of the world to some external force. These meanings, however, soon underwent modification. The question as to whether motion is an inherent property of bodies, or has been communicated to them by some external agency, was very often ignored. With a large number of cosmologists the essential feature of Mechanism is the attempt to reduce all the qualities and activities of bodies to quantitative realities, i. But a further modification soon followed.
Living bodies, as is well known, present at first sight certain characteristic properties which have no counterpart in lifeless matter. Mechanism aims to go beyond these appearances. Mechanists are generally inclined to favour such reduction. The theory opposed to this biological mechanism is no longer Dynamism, but Vitalism or Neo-vitalism, which maintains that vital activities cannot be explained, and never will be explained, by the laws which govern lifeless matter. We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of the past and the cause of the future.
Descartes argued that one cannot explain the conscious mind in terms of the spatial dynamics of mechanistic bits of matter cannoning off each other. Descartes, Treatise on Man, p. Descartes’ dualism was motivated by the seeming impossibility that mechanical dynamics could yield mental experiences. However, his work seemed to successfully predict the motion of both celestial and terrestrial bodies according to that principle, and the generation of philosophers who were inspired by Newton’s example carried the mechanist banner nonetheless.
Hobbes, on the other hand, conceived of the mind and the will as purely mechanistic, completely explicable in terms of the effects of perception and the pursuit of desire, which in turn he held to be completely explicable in terms of the materialistic operations of the nervous system. Anthropic mechanists typically respond in one of two ways. In the first, they agree with anti-mechanists that mechanism conflicts with some of our commonsense intuitions, but go on to argue that our commonsense intuitions are simply mistaken and need to be revised. Gödel’s incompleteness theorems would apply to it. Since this is impossible for a Turing machine, the Gödelian concludes that human reasoning must be non-mechanical. Gödel’s theorems do not lead to any valid argument against mechanism. One of the earliest attempts to use incompleteness to reason about human intelligence was by Gödel himself in his 1951 Gibbs lecture entitled “Some basic theorems on the foundations of mathematics and their philosophical implications”.
Yet he considered the disjunctive conclusion to be a “certain fact”. In subsequent years, more direct anti-mechanist lines of reasoning were apparently floating around the intellectual atmosphere. Minds and Machines,” in which he points out the flaws of a typical anti-mechanist argument. Let T be a Turing machine which “represents” me in the sense that T can prove just the mathematical statements I prove. Then using Gödel’s technique I can discover a proposition that T cannot prove, and moreover I can prove this proposition. This refutes the assumption that T “represents” me, hence I am not a Turing machine.
Gödel’s technique can only be applied to consistent systems. It is conceivable, argues Putnam, that the human mind is inconsistent. T, a daunting and perhaps impossible task. Later Putnam suggested that while Gödel’s theorems cannot be applied to humans, since they make mistakes and are therefore inconsistent, it may be applied to the human faculty of science or mathematics in general. If we are to believe that it is consistent, then either we cannot prove its consistency, or it cannot be represented by a Turing machine. Putnam, including reasons for why the human mind can be considered consistent.