Problem Set 04

1. The Mark of the Mental

In a long essay and using your own examples, explain i) Brentano's thesis that "intentionality is the mark of the mental" and ii) explain exactly why this matters to us in our efforts to determine whether cognitive functions are efficiently Turing Machine computable. (25)

2. The Chinese Room Thought Experiment

In preparation for answering this problem, conduct the following online activities:

  1. Have a conversation with ELIZA. [Here is the original paper about ELIZA. (optional)]
  2. Have a conversation with Jabberwacky.
  3. Have a conversation with one of Google's Bots.

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? Finally, in considering Searle's responses to each of the replies to the Chinese Room Thought Experiment, which one do you think is the weakest or least convincing? What specifically has Searle missed in the reply in question? (25)