that the high-level functions of mind,such as language, begin as meta- phors for how our bodies interact with the world.“The mind is in- herently embodied,” they write, adding, “Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.” Reason it- self, they believe, is intimately connected with our physical nature:
Reason . . . arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experi- ence . . . the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment.The same neural and cognitive mechanisms that allow us to perceive and move around also create our conceptual systems. . . .
But although Genghis learned to walk, and Brooks’s robot, Cog, seemed alive when it turned toward a visitor, embodied intelligences have yet to demonstrate that they have developed higher functions of mind operating at abstract levels. Numerous questions remain about this approach.The pioneering AI researcher Marvin Minsky, for in- stance, has called emphasis on robots “unproductive” and “bad taste on the part of my fellow scientists,” adding,
in the 1950’s and ’60’s . . . we found, OK, you can build a robot and have it walk around the room and bump into things and learn not to, but we never got any profound knowledge out of those experiments.
Despite such sharp differences of opinion, researchers continue to attack the mind–body problems for artificial beings on many fronts. Some research efforts focus on the pragmatic goal of developing op- erational creatures; others operate on a deeper level that hopes to build fully conscious beings. Mind–body considerations apply also to bionic humans or cyborgs; for instance, the different subjective reac- tions that have been reported by the recipients of cochlear and brain implants,some of whom are troubled by a sense of isolation or strange- ness and some who are not. There is evidence as well that neural implants cause actual changes in the brain and the way in which it perceives the body. This is a function of the brain’s plasticity, the change in its neural arrangement as a result of external influences. The changes caused by a neural implant that controls an artificial limb or external device are likely to be beneficial toward incorporating that nonliving addition into a person’s body image. Still, if altering people from fully natural to partly artificial literally changes their