The Mind and the Machine: What It Means to Be Human and Why It Matters

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Wipf and Stock Publishers, Jul 29, 2016 - Philosophy - 242 pages
Are humans just complex biochemical machines, mere physical parts of a causally closed materialist universe? Are we approaching the so-called "Singularity" when human consciousness can (and will) be downloaded into computers? Or is there more to the human person--something that might be known as soul or spirit? As this book makes clear, the answers to these questions have profound implications to topics such as heroism, creativity, ecology, and the possibility of reason and science. In exploring this important topic, Dickerson engages the ideas of some well-known twentieth- and twenty-first-century espousers of physicalism, including philosopher Daniel Dennett (Consciousness Explained), biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), futurist-engineer Raymond Kurzweil (The Age of Spiritual Machines), psychologist B. F. Skinner (Beyond Freedom and Dignity), and mathematician-philosopher Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian). Through a careful reading of their works, Dickerson not only provides a five-fold critique of physicalism, but also offers a Christian alternative in the form of "integrative dualism," which affirms the existence of both a physical and spiritual reality without diminishing the goodness or importance of either, and acknowledges that humans are spiritual as well as bodily persons.


Ghosts Machines and
Physicalism Creativity
Naturalism and Nature
Reason Science and
The Spiritual Human
Body Spirit and the Value
A Biblical Defense of Reason
The Integrated Person
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About the author (2016)

Matthew Dickerson is a professor at Middlebury College (Vermont), affiliated with the Department of Computer Science and the Program of Environmental Studies. His most recent books include The Rood and the Torc: The Song of Kristinge, Son of Finn (2014); Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia (2014, with David O'Hara); The Gifted (2015); and Trout in the Desert: On Fly Fishing, Human Habits, and the Cold Waters of the Arid Southwest (2015).

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