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What Is It like to Be Oscar?

Leopold Stubenberg
Synthese
Vol. 90, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 1-26
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20116987
Page Count: 26
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What Is It like to Be Oscar?
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Abstract

"Oscar" is going to be the first artificial person -- at any rate, he is going to be the first artificial person to be built in Tucson's Philosophy Department. Oscar's creator, John Pollock, maintains that once Oscar is complete he "will experience qualia, will be self-conscious, will have desires, fears, intentions, and a full range of mental states" (Pollock 1989, pp. ix-x). In this paper I focus on what seems to me to be the most problematical of these claims, viz., that Oscar will experience qualia. I argue that we have not been given sufficient reasons to believe this bold claim. I doubt that Oscar will enjoy qualitative conscious phenomena and I maintain that it will be like nothing to be Oscar.

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