Minds and Machines
|TAMUCC||Minds and Machines||Don Berkich|
|Philosophy||Problem Set 04||Handout|
Hardcopy answers to the following questions are due in class Monday, 2/27. I do not mind students working on this problem set in groups--it is, in fact, encouraged--but your answer should be your own. Be sure that each answer is complete, well-expressed, clear, and precise. The value of each problem is given in parentheses after the question. If you have any question, puzzle, or require clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me (email@example.com; 3976, 825-1514). Finally, the following maximums and minimums must be scrupulously observed:
- No less than 10pt font.
- No less than 1.5 line spacing.
- No less than 1 inch margins on all sides.
- No more than one-half page for a Short Essay answer.
- No more than one page for a Long Essay answer.
Note that these are maximums and minimums only. You may, for instance, write less than one page for a Long Essay or use greater than a 10pt font. Finally, these minimums and maximums do not apply, for instance, to flow graphs or other charts, which may be handwritten and attached as need be.
All that said, your challenge on these problem sets should never be having too much space. If you're doing them correctly, you should find you don't have enough space. I would not be surprised if the best answers start out as two or three page essays which then have to be carefully cut down to fit on a single page.
In light of the serious constraints on the space available for answers, it is extremely important that you excise any and all extraneous, superfluous, or redundant material. For example, the phrases "It can be argued that", "I claim that", "I think that", or their kin preceding a sentence add absolutely nothing to the sentence, take up valuable space, and are in fact wholly redundant. Of course it can be argued that, claimed that, or thought that, or you would never have written it!
Every word must count for answering the question. Philosophical writing is thus austere, but terribly precise. Such is its virtue.
As usual, it is not permitted to quote from the texts, or to plagiarize from the texts, or to plagiarize from anything, or even to revise a sentence from a text by replacing key phrases. You must explain everything fully and in your own terms.
Finally, I have enabled commenting on this page. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask them here.
1. The Church-Turing Thesis
a) In a short essay, explain the Church-Turing Thesis. (10)
b) In a long essay, explain the importance of the Church-Turing Thesis for the possibility of i) artificial intelligence and ii) a theory of mind in light of Dretske's Dictum. Finally, explain how Machine Functionalism could still be true even if not every cognitive function is Turing Machine computable. (20)
2. The Chinese Room Thought Experiment
In preparation for answering this problem, conduct the following online activities:
- Have a conversation with ELIZA. [Here is the original paper about ELIZA. (optional)]
- Have a conversation with A.L.I.C.E.. (If the server is available. Alternatively try Jabberwacky.)
- Have a conversation with EllaZ.
- Finally, have a conversation with Joan. (Joan is, apparently, offline!)
In a long essay, i) explain the Chinese Room Thought Experiment and ii) contrast your conversations and explain whether and how the Chinese Room Thought Experiment should have any bearing on your perception of understanding (or not, as the case may be.) In light of your conversations, does the Chinese Room Thought Experiment succeed in showing the Turing Test too weak? That is, would it be a mistake to think a machine that passes the Turing Test understands the conversations it's having? Why or why not? (20)