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5 Savannah L. Rev. 13 (2018)
The Lion, the Bat & the Thermostat: Metaphors of Consciousness

handle is hein.journals/savanlr5 and id is 13 raw text is: 




Brian  L. Frye*

    Can  robots have  rights? It depends on the meaning  of robots  and
rights.' Different kinds of robots can have different kinds of rights. Robots can
already have the rights of things, and may soon be able to have the rights of legal
entities. But it is unclear whether robots can have the rights of animals or persons.
It probably depends on what  theory of mind is true: dualist, reductionist, or
agnostic. Under a dualist theory, robots can have rights if they possess a soul or
other form of mental substance. Under a reductionist theory, robots can have
rights if they are conscious, or at least functionally identical to a human or animal.
And  under an agnostic theory, it depends on how brains actually work.
    Philosophers  often use metaphors  to  explore problems  they do  not
understand, and philosophers of mind are no exception. I will describe three
metaphors used by philosophers of mind-the lion, the bat, and the thermostat-
and  reflect on how those metaphors may  illuminate our speculations on the
possibility of robot rights.

    But we cannot reckon with what is lost when we start out to transform
    the world. Man shall be free and supreme; he shall have no other aim, no

    * Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law, University of Kentucky School of Law.
J.D., New York University School of Law, 2005; M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute,
1997; B.A, University of California, Berkeley, 1995. Thanks to Patrick S. O'Donnell,
Andrew K. Woods, Charles Colman, and Katrina Dixon for their helpful suggestions.
    'As David Gunkel observes, the question of whether robots can have rights is
distinct from the questions of whether robots should have rights. Perhaps we should treat
robots as if they have rights, even if they lack patiency or moral agency. David J.
Gunkel, The other question: can and should robots have rights?, ETHICS INF. TECH.
(2017), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-017-9442-4.


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