University of Bristol
Institute of Physics logo
Why not try our other site: BEEP Biology & Ethics

How can we know if anything is conscious?

Activity: Class Discussion

How do you know that the human sat next to you has a mind? What actual evidence do you have that the body next to you isn't just a clockwork zombie acting as though it’s a person? What would count as evidence?  Could it be faked by a machine?

Cogs turning inside a head

Difficult isn’t it? The more you think about it the harder it gets.

How does a brain give rise to thoughts, feelings, ideas and actions? Biologists are only just starting to understand the wiring of the brain, but know little about what a 'mind' actually is. Philosophers and psychologists have been trying to figure this out for centuries and still don’t know.

So if we don’t know what a 'mind' is, or how they actually work, can we make one for a robot? And how on earth would we know if we’d succeeded?

Next: The Turing Test


What's your opinion?

Average rating

Not yet rated

Read comments

speech bubble  No comments yet. Why not be the first person to add one?