没有灵魂的躯体

世界人工智能领域的大腕学者曾经将人类描述成肉做的机器。这种描述很好地抓住了心理学和神经系统科学领域的共识。这些科学告诉我们,人的精神生命是我们物质大脑的产物,而这些大脑并不是由某位神圣的造物主创造的,而是盲目的自然选择的结果。

但是,除了少数的哲学家和科学家而外,似乎没有人把这种观点当真。它令人愤怒。它违背了每一种宗教的教义,也不符合人们的常识。毕竟,我们并不认为我们仅仅是物质的血肉之躯。相反,我们主宰并拥有它们。我们本能地接受笛卡尔所捍卫的观点:我们是天生的二元论者,所以在我们看来肉体和灵魂是分离的。

这种两元论极大地影响了我们的思想、行为和感觉。哲学家彼德·辛格论述了一种道德循环的概念—一些对我们具有重要道德意义的生物的循环。这个循环可以很小,只包括我们的亲朋好友和那些与我们每天打交道的人;或者它也可以很大,不仅包括全人类,还包括胚胎、动物、植物甚至地球本身。对我们大多数人而言,这个循环是中等大小,界限分明—比如,它是否包括干细胞?--能够成为痛苦和冲突的源头。

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