A.I. Film Analysis

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A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a Steven Spielberg science fiction drama film, which conveys the story of a younger generation robot, David, who yearns for his human mother’s love. David’s character stimulates the mind-body question. What is the connection between our “minds” and our bodies?

It is apparent that we are personified entities, but also, that we embrace “more” than just our bodies. “Human persons are physical, embodied beings and an important feature of God’s intended design for human life” (Cortez, 70). But, “human persons have an ‘inner’ dimension that is just as important as the ‘outer’ embodiment” (Cortez, 71). The “inner” element cannot be wholly explained by the “outer” embodiment, but it does give rise to inimitable facets of the human mental life such as human dignity and personal identity.

The mind-body problem entails two theories, dualism and physicalism. Dualism contends that distinct mental and physical realms exist and they both must be taken into account. Its counterpart (weak) physicalism views the human as being completely bodily and physical, encompassing no non-physical, or spiritual, substances. It recognizes that there are “higher level” properties that cannot be explained in physical terms, but they are caused by a physical event. Within dualism and physicalism lie sub-theories that make specific the philosophies behind these fundamental beliefs. Spielberg’s film expresses the ideas of emergent physicalism through David, his journey to becoming a “real” boy, and his remaining eternally hopeful that he will receive the love of the one whom not only created his ability to love, but also the one whom he loves the most.

Mechas are a new class of robots designed during the 22nd century in respon...

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...a-kind, comes into being. Since we are all unique, we all have a precise and specific “imprinting protocol” which makes us human. Finding our exact “imprint” is “the mystery of the human person” (Cortez, 93). But, “the emergence of higher-level properties and complex systems with novel properties… cannot be comprehensively understood on lower-level terms alone,” affirming that what defines a physical being as being “human,” or what delineates David as a “real boy” is ultimately abstract and unknown (Cortez, 94). It is ultimately up to God.

Works Cited

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Screenplay by Ian Watson. Prod. Steven Spielberg. Dir. Steven Spielberg. By Brian Aldiss. Perf. Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2001. DVD.

Cortez, Marc. Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: T&T Clark International, 2010. Print.
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