Human beings can exhibit complex, goal–oriented behavior without conscious awareness of what they are doing. Thus, me...

Claudia-Frankel on July 12, 2020

Negating A

How does negating A wreck the argument? While I understand the mechanics of providing the link between complex behavior and intelligence, I don't see how negating A wrecks the conclusion.

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shunhe on July 13, 2020

Hi @Claudia-Frankel,

Thanks for the question! Yeah, this one is a pretty weird argument. So we’re basically told here that human beings can exhibit complex, goal-oriented behavior without doing it consciously. And then the argument concludes that just establishing that nonhuman animals are intelligent won’t show that they have consciousness.

OK, well that kind of came out of left field. It looks like we need something connecting the idea of intelligence to the idea of this complex, goal-oriented behavior. And this is what (A) gives us. We need to see something that tells us ok humans can do this complex, goal-oriented behavior, and that means they’re intelligent, but they do it unconsciously sometimes. So that means that just showing intelligence won’t necessarily show consciousness, since humans can be intelligent without doing things consciously.

So now let’s negate (A) and say that complex, goal-oriented behavior doesn’t require intelligence. Well, then the argument doesn’t make sense anymore, because we can’t say anything about whether humans are intelligent or not. So we can’t link anything from the premise to the conclusion, and the argument just doesn’t work. So negating (A) breaks the argument, and so (A) is going to be the necessary assumption here.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.