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 short essay, justify for your answer. Do you think the problem can be solved? Why or why not? (25)

  • Intelligence
    • Defining Intelligence and the Turing Test
    • The Problem of Defining Cognitive Functions
    • Computability and Complexity Constraints on Cognitive Functions
  • Intentionality
    • The Chinese Room Thought Experiment and the Problem of Original Intentionality
    • The Problem of the In-existence of Intentional Objects
    • The Problem of Linguistic Communication
    • Meaning, the Twin Earth Thought Experiment, and the Division of Linguistic Labor
    • Externalism and the Boundaries of Mind
    • The Frame Problem
  • Subjective Experience
    • The Subjective View (Nagel's Argument)
    • The Knowledge Gap and the Case of Mary
    • The Modal Gap and the Philosophical Zombie
    • The Explanatory Gap
    • Psychophysical Laws
    • Epiphenomenalism, Panpsychism, and New Mysterianism
  • Agency
    • The Traditional Problem of Freedom of Will
    • The Problem of Programming a Robot to Act of its Own Free Accord
    • The Problem of Robot Agency
    • The Problem of Robot Autonomy
  • Personal Identity
    • The Problem of Personhood
    • The Problem of Diachronic Identity
    • The General Problem of Personal Identity
    • The Prince and the Cobbler Thought Experiment
    • The Brain Fission/Fusion Thought Experiments
    • The Teletransporter 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, roughly, the mind is what the brain does. Unsurprisingly, these are the very 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 short essay, explain whether you think we should abandon computationalism in light of the many challenges we have encountered this semester. If so, what do you think the relationship is between mind and body? Why? If not, how do you propose we approach dealing with such problems as phenomenal consciousness under the computational hypothesis? (25)