The idea that all living things, including men and their psychological attributes, are essentially physical "mechanisms" is ancient. With the coming of large computing machines this notion has become commonplace and, therefore, it need not be dramatized or elaborated upon here. However, one important consequence of this idea is germane to this review and that is that it gave rise to an ancient philosophical polemic concerning the nature of man's soul and the seat of his consciousness.
The findings of science led educated man to regard their corporeal existence as the manifestation of ordinary physical laws in a kind of symphony of chemical, electrical, and mechanical "mechanism." At the same time their intuition told them that "consciousness," "awareness," "freedom of will," and "sensation," could not possibly be attributes of a machine, a physical thing, no matter how cunningly contrived. In short, with the development of modern computing machines,
Shimbel A. The Minds of Robots. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(1):98–101. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720190100021
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