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Evolution as Algorithm

Dennett, Daniel C (1995) Evolution as Algorithm. [Conference Paper]

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Abstract

John Locke offered what he considered a sound a priori argument that Mind must come first, must be the original Cause, not merely an Effect: If, then, there must be something eternal, let us see what sort of Being it must be. And to that it is very obvious to Reason, that it must necessarily be a cogitative Being. For it is as impossible to conceive that ever bare incogitative Matter should produce a thinking intelligent Being, as that nothing should of itself produce Matter. Let us suppose any parcel of Matter eternal, great or small, we shall find it, in itself, able to produce nothing. . . . . Matter then, by its own strength, cannot produce in itself so much as Motion: the Motion it has, must also be from Eternity, or else be produced, and added to Matter by some other Being more powerful than Matter. . . . But let us suppose Motion eternal too: yet Matter, incogitative Matter and Motion, whatever changes it might produce of Figure and Bulk, could never produce Thought: Knowledge will still be as far beyond the power of Motion and Matter to produce, as Matter is beyond the power of nothing or nonentity to produce. And I appeal to everyone's own thoughts, whether he cannot as easily conceive Matter produced by nothing, as Thought produced by pure Matter, when before there was no such thing as Thought, or an intelligent Being existing. . . . So if we will suppose nothing first, or eternal: Matter can never begin to be: If we suppose bare Matter, without Motion, eternal: Motion can never being to be: If we suppose only Matter and Motion first, or eternal: Thought can never begin to be. For it is impossible to conceive that Matter either with or without Motion could have originally in and from itself Sense, Perception and Knowledge, as is evident from hence, that then Sense, Perception, and Knowledge must be a property eternally inseparable from Matter and every particle of it.

Item Type:Conference Paper
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:283
Deposited By:Dennett, Daniel
Deposited On:15 Apr 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:53

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