Minds and Machines

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 29–39

The Cartesian Test for Automatism1

  • Gerald J. Erion
Article

Abstract

In Part V of his Discourse on the Method, Descartes introduces a test for distinguishing people from machines that is similar to the one proposed much later by Alan Turing. The Cartesian test combines two distinct elements that Keith Gunderson has labeled the language test and the action test. Though traditional interpretation holds that the action test attempts to determine whether an agent is acting upon principles, I argue that the action test is best understood as a test of common sense. I also maintain that this interpretation yields a stronger test than Turing's, and that contemporary artificial intelligence should consider using it as a guide for future research.

Artificial intelligence common sense Descartes Turing Test 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adler, M.J. (1967), The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  2. Chomsky, N. (1966), Cartesian Linguistics, New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  3. Cottingham, J. (1978), 'A Brute to the Brutes?', Philosophy 53, pp. 551–559.Google Scholar
  4. Damasio, A.R. (1994), Descartes' Error, New York: G.P. Putnam.Google Scholar
  5. Dennett, D.C. (1991), Consciousness Explained, Boston: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  6. Descartes, R. (1985), The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. and ed. by J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch, and A. Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Cited in text as CSM.)Google Scholar
  7. Egenhofer,M. and Mark, D.M. (1995), 'Naive Geography', in A.U. Frank and W. Kuhn, eds., Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS, Berlin/New York: Springer, pp. 1–15.Google Scholar
  8. Erion, G.J. (2000), Common Sense: An Investigation in Ontology, Epistemology, and Moral Philosophy, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.Google Scholar
  9. Forguson, L. (1989), Common Sense, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Gunderson, K. (1964), 'Descartes, La Mettrie, Language, and Machines', Philosophy 39, pp. 193–222.Google Scholar
  11. Harnad, S. (1991), 'Other Bodies, Other Minds: A Machine Incarnation of an Old Philosophical Problem', Minds and Machines 1, pp. 43–54.Google Scholar
  12. Hauser, L. (1993), 'Reaping the Whirlwind', Minds and Machines 3, pp. 219–238.Google Scholar
  13. Hayes, P.J. (1985a), 'Naive Physics I: Ontology for Liquids', in J.R. Hobbs and R.C. Moore, eds., Formal Theories of the Common-Sense World, Norwood, NJ: Ablex, pp. 71–107.Google Scholar
  14. Hayes, P.J. (1985b). 'The Second Naive Physics Manifesto', in J.R. Hobbs and R.C. Moore, eds., Formal Theories of the Common Sense World, Norwood, NJ: Ablex, pp. 1–36.Google Scholar
  15. Horton, R. (1982), 'Tradition and Modernity Revisited', in M. Hollis and S. Lukes, eds., Rationality and Relativism, Oxford: Basil Blackwell pp. 201–260.Google Scholar
  16. Leiber, J. (1989), 'Re(ad) Me; Re(ad) Myself', Philosophy and Literature 13, pp. 134–139.Google Scholar
  17. Macnamara, J. (1986), A Border Dispute: The Place of Logic in Psychology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Radner, D. and Radner, M. (1989), Animal Consciousness. Buffalo: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  19. Radner, D. and Radner, M. (1995), 'Cognition, Natural Selection, and the Intentional Stance', International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9, pp. 109–119.Google Scholar
  20. Ryle, G. (1971), 'Knowing How and Knowing That', in Collected Papers of Gilbert Ryle, Vol. II. New York: Barnes and Noble, pp. 212–225. (Original work published in 1945.)Google Scholar
  21. Shieber, S.M. (1994), 'Lessons From a Restricted Turing Test', Communications of the ACM 37, pp. 70–78.Google Scholar
  22. Smith, B. (1994), 'The Structures of the Common-SenseWorld', in S. Poggi, ed., Gestalt Psychology: Its Origins, Foundations, and Influence, Firenze: L.S. Olschki, pp. 209–232.Google Scholar
  23. Turing, A.M. (1950), 'Computing Machinery and Intelligence', Mind 59, pp. 433–460.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald J. Erion
    • 1
  1. 1.Medaille CollegeBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations