Source: Spinoza — Understanding the emotions Clare Carlisle

Every individual thing has conatus: it strives to persevere in its existence. In order to live, we need power, or energy, and because various external influences can diminish our power, we seek not only to sustain this power, but to increase it.

The mind’s power of thought, and the body’s power of movement – fluctuates over time. Joy arises with the feeling of an increase in power, and the emotion of sadness when power is diminished.

Ozma of Oz

  • Tin Man vs Tik-Tok
    • Tin Man used to be living (born a real man) but lost his body over time due to a series of wood chopping ‘accidents’
      • A modern tale of the ship of Theseus
      • Does the original entity persist through the gradual replacement of each of its parts, if it doesn’t, where does it stop being the same entity?
      • Two differences
        • Replacement pieces are different material from the parts they replace (tin vs flesh) does this matter?
        • Tin Man tells his own story from when he used to be a creature of flesh and bones → has a memory
    • Tik-Tok has neither of those two differences
      • “Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live”
      • Built in a tinker’s shop
      • Tik-Tok is treated as a conscious being but is not treated as being able to live
  • Conclusion from Tik-Tok story
    • Neither thinking nor consciousness entails being alive
  • Hilary Putnam’s ingenious argument (attributed to Paul Ziff)
    • x is a mechanism → x is ~alive
    • by first order logic
      • if x is ~alive → x is not alive
      • if x is not alive → Tik-Tok is not conscious
      • this is a contradiction of Tik-Tok’s label which proclaims he can think

Traditional connection between thinking and being alive

We suspect the distinction between what is alive what is mechanical is not clear-cut

Two criteria of life

  • structural (important for plants)
    • biochemical definition of life → digestion, growth, reproduction, self-motion, perception, etc.
  • behavioural (important for animals)
    • any program that matched some reasonably good psychological theory of how people behave would thereby satisfy the behavioural criteria for consciousness and life

is conscious does entail that is alive. Descartes would agree but posits that we should alter language such that this entailment no longer holds