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Philosophy of Human Person

John Searle’s book (Minds, Brains and Science) is an effort to understand the human frame. It endeavored to understand the composition of the human brain through a philosophic point of view. For John Searle, all of the things which happen inside the human brain are caused by nothing less than mere neurobiological course of action. Well, this line of thinking seems to suggest that all that there is in human person is nothing more and nothing less but a working of a machine.

Human thoughts and imaginations, as well as the dictates of conscience are just products of the operations of the physical material which is referred to commonly as the body. The activities of the brain, in John Searle’s observation, could only be reduced to four characteristics: awareness (i. e. “consciousness” in Searle’s terminology), projection of things (intentionality), sort through things (subjectivity), and the ability of the human brain to function (mental causation). These categories of the brain’s functions are observed purely through the physical substance of the human being.

Although Searle’s method of understanding the human mind is classical science, it nevertheless falls on several issues. If his scientific theory will be allowed to stand, Artificial Intelligence will stand. Indeed, the human brain is very much like the hard drive of a computer. As neurons in the human body, particularly in the brain, are healthily transmitting necessary and balanced chemicals, the mind will be healthy as it is the natural product of a brain which is in good physical shape.

What is observed and seen on the outside/surface are complete manifestations of what lies underneath, which, according to John Searle are the “micro-elements” that compose the actual appearance of anything (Searle 1984). The theory of cause and effect has had its influence on Searle’s understanding of the human mind. For example, water is simultaneously composed of oxygen and hydrogen. To the naked eye, water is just water. It is named “water. ” But if someone – a chemist perhaps – would analyze or sort through the composition of water, its true compositional elements would surface.

As a scientist/philosopher, and one that is faithful to his profession, Searle simplified or reduced to mere “physical” the properties of the human being. Mental activities, or what takes place in the brain (which is referred to often as “mind”) is realized there only as a result (caused) of the workings of neurons or the transmission of them to the brain. John Searle used an illustration, an experiment of thought; it was the analogy of Chinese Room.

What he tries to deduce from this illustration is the fact (according to him) that the healthy human brain is made up of right properties which in turn produces consciousness, projection of things (intentionality), subjectivity (able to sort through things), and mental causation (the ability of the human brain to function). The difference of the human brain from the computer is that the brain can intend or plan or cause things to happen, while computers, on the other hand, are syntactically and semantically programmed. And so, for Searle, the brain is still far too different from a computer machine.

The computer can only be used as a metaphor to describe the workings of the brain. The brain, unlike the computer machine, is a human organ. As to the statement made by John Searle in the last part of his book (Mind, Brains, and Science), although there are some truths to it, it is nonetheless not 100% true. We may physically perceive our surroundings, but in some ways, we misinterpret many workings outside of ourselves. We even misunderstand ourselves most of the times. That’s why we consult doctors or experts in many fields.

At times, and it is not rare, there are unimaginable mistakes committed by these so-called experts. These are proofs enough to make us consider outside source to help us sort through the human mind – outside of ourselves and bigger than us. To use the computer machine analogy, we may need the one who created us (if there really is such a being. Anyway, this is just hypothetical suggestion along with many other hypothetical theories – including John Searle’s Mind, Brains, and Science. Works cited: Searle, John. 1984. Mind, Brains, and Science. Published By: Harvard University Press.

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