Problem Set 10

1. The Challenge for Artificial Intelligence

This semester we either have described or shortly will finish describing a series of important challenges, below, for Artificial Intelligence and--given Dretske's Dictum--our understanding of the mind. Which one of these problems do you think poses the greatest challenge for understanding the mind? In a long essay, provide justification for your answer. Do you think the problem can be solved? Why or why not? (25)

  • Intelligence
    • Defining Intelligence and the Turing Test
    • Computability and Complexity Constraints on Cognitive Functions
  • Intentionality
    • The Chinese Room Thought Experiment and the Problem of Original Intentionality
    • The Problem of False Beliefs and True Beliefs about Imaginary, Fictional, or Abstract Objects
    • The Frame Problem
    • Meaning and the Twin Earth Thought Experiment
    • Externalism and the Boundaries of Mind
  • Phenomenal Consciousness
    • The Subjective View (Nagel's Argument)
    • The Knowledge Argument
    • The Modal Argument
    • The Explanatory Gap
    • Psychophysical Laws
    • Epiphenomenalism, Panpsychism, and New Mysterianism
  • Agency
    • The Problem of Freedom of Will
    • The Problem of Original Agency
    • The Problem of Robot Autonomy
  • Personal Identity
    • The Brain Fission/Fusion Thought Experiments
    • The Teleporter Thought Experiments

2. Revisiting the Mind-Body Problem

All semester we have assumed computationalism as our operating hypothesis to find out just how far it can take us in understanding the mind. Although this is also the operating hypothesis of cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology generally, we have found a number of reasons for questioning the proposition that we are meat machines--that, vaguely, the mind is what the brain does. Unsurprisingly, these are the same reasons we have to be skeptical of the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, unless, of course, we are altogether more exotic kinds of machines than it seems we are. (To be sure, if cognitive neuroscience has any say in the matter, we are fairly modest and humdrum as machines go.)

In a long essay, explain whether you think we should reject computationalism. If so, what do you think the relationship is between mind and body? Why? If not, how do you propose we deal with such problems as phenomenal consciousness under the computational hypothesis? (25)