Dr. Patrick Suppes

The Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University

Thursday, May 15, 2014
3:30–4:45 p.m.

Buchanan 1930

Reception to follow at 3512 Phelps Hall

Mental Resurrection and How to Live Forever:

Speculations on Future Interactions between Technology and Our Minds

Golledge Lecture Picture

View Flyer

Abstract: To give some perspective on the future, I want to begin by going back to ancient Greek philosophy and psychology, especially to Aristotle’s theory of form and matter. The simple formulation of the Aristotelian theory of perception is “same form, different matter.” How this theory provides a basis for a modern technological view of mental resurrection is my main focus. Mental resurrection means preserving after death the mental capabilities of a person. This is a new problem suitable for modern technology of speech recognition and brain processes of thinking and feeling. Contrary to philosophical views I once held, I now believe it is correct to say that the dualism of mind and matter can be conclusively established by technological research results, some of which we are not far from achieving.

Copying the manner and style of an individual’s speech can already be done rather well, and used accurately to imitate his or her speaking voice. Outstanding progress has also been made in creating programs like Watson to know a lot about the world. The same methods can be used to re-create digitally large personal bodies of knowledge. Further steps of mental resurrection should be an intense object of future scientific work in psychology, neuroscience, and biology in studying taste, touch, and smell, but the details still seem highly speculative.

Brief Bio: Patrick Suppes is the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University and is Director and Faculty Advisor for Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (1992). He was director of Stanford’s Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences (1959–1992). He is also professor emeritus by courtesy in Stanford’s Department of Statistics, Department of Psychology, and School of Education. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1962), the American Psychological Association (1964), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1968), as well as a member of the National Academy of Education (1965), the National Academy of Sciences (1978), and the American Philosophical Society (1991). Among his awards are the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service (1978), and the National Medal of Science (1990).

For more information: http://www.stanford.edu/~psuppes/