Cogito ergo sum

Robert Stonehouse ew65 at bcs.org.uk
Thu Jun 1 05:31:30 EST 2000

"Bill Snyder" <wsnyder at sciti.com> wrote:
> But as we know today robots are quite
>intelligible and can easily be spoken about.  They were equally intelligible
>in 200BC, and could have easily been spoken of, IF the idea had ever
>occurred to anyone!  But until certain technological developments had taken
>placed, the idea itself did not arise.

Aristotle, Politics 1253b 33 ff.
'For suppose that every tool we had could perform its task, either
at our bidding or itself perceiving the need, and if - like the
statues made by Daedalus or the tripods of Hephaestus, of which the
poet says that 'self-moved they enter the assembly of the gods' -
shuttles in a loom could fly to and fro and a plectrum play a lyre
all self-moved, then master-craftsmen would have no need of servants
nor masters of slaves.'
(The Penguin translation, Sinclair and Saunders, except that I have
substituted 'plectrum' where they write 'plucker', because it seemed
to me more intelligible.)

That is, the idea does not depend on the practicality of the moment.
Aristotle has it comprehensively and even refers some of it back to
Homer (Iliad 18.375-7).
ew65 at bcs.org.uk

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net