Finding Justification For The Existence Of Minds

1514 WordsDec 7, 20157 Pages
The problem of other minds, in philosophy, addresses the issue of finding justification for the existence of minds other than one’s own. The issue is one that logically and chronologically follows the resolution of whether the individual mind truly exists, for if an individual admits to being, or at least having, a mind, then the question of whether consciousness exists in other beings shortly follows. Put simply, the problem states: if one can only observe the behavior of others, and if one cannot prove the actuality of any thoughts other than one’s own, then how can one know that others have minds? That is, the presence of complex behavior does not provide proof of mentality. While the answer seems simple if examined superficially, the proof and reasoning remains difficult to articulate. It is reasonable to assume that because I have a thinking mind—that which reasons, feels, remembers, and is self-aware—then the human beings surrounding me must surely have the same; however, philosophy calls in to question the reality of “ingenious automata,” or mechanical computers made to imitate a human beings (Russell 248). Could the beings surround one’s self be humans with similar human minds, or could they be humanoid robots created to act and react as humans would? This possible, although admittedly improbable, suggestion forces one to contemplate and legitimize the idea of personhood as it applies to beings other than one’s self. Bertrand Russell, noted British philosopher,
Open Document