From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 17:44:42 EDT
> At any rate, may I ask for an explanation of what you mean by common > sense humanism of the time. I was just thinking that in the past horse-power or machine-power was clearly different from labour-power, and it was obvious that mechanical devices could not conceivably ever think. With technical progress things are no longer so clear. For example Leibniz: "One is obliged to admit that perception and what depends upon it is inexplicable on mechanical principles, that is, by figures and motions. In imagining that there is a machine whose construction would enable it to think, to sense, and to have perception, one could conceive it enlarged while retaining the same proportions, so that one could enter into it, just like into a windmill. Supposing this, one should, when visiting within it, find only parts pushing one another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in the simple substance, and not in the composite or in the machine, that one must look for perception." I guess it was common-sense among many in the past, even the most brilliant and revolutionary, that there was such a simple substance and that it was in man and man alone. -Ian.
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