Other bodies, Other minds: A machine incarnation of an old philosophical problem

Harnad, Stevan (1991) Other bodies, Other minds: A machine incarnation of an old philosophical problem. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Explaining the mind by building machines with minds runs into the other-minds problem: How can we tell whether any body other than our own has a mind when the only way to know is by being the other body? In practice we all use some form of Turing Test: If it can do everything a body with a mind can do such that we can't tell them apart, we have no basis for doubting it has a mind. But what is "everything" a body with a mind can do? Turing's original "pen-pal" version (the TT) only tested linguistic capacity, but Searle has shown that a mindless symbol-manipulator could pass the TT undetected. The Total Turing Test (TTT) calls for all of our linguistic and robotic capacities; immune to Searle's argument, it suggests how to ground a symbol manipulating system in the capacity to pick out the objects its symbols refer to. No Turing Test, however, can guarantee that a body has a mind. Worse, nothing in the explanation of its successful performance requires a model to have a mind at all. Minds are hence very different from the unobservables of physics (e.g., superstrings); and Turing Testing, though essential for machine-modeling the mind, can really only yield an explanation of the body.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:artificial intelligence; causality; cognition; computation; explanation; mind/body problem; other-minds problem; robotics; Searle; symbol grounding; Turing Test.
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Artificial Intelligence
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:1578
Deposited By:Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:18 Jun 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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