Machine Mentality?

Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 5)

Abstract

A common dogma of cognitive science is that cognition and computation are importantly related to one another. Indeed, this association has a long history, connected to older uses of the term ’computer’. This paper begins with a brief examination of the history of the association between computers and putatively thinking machines. However, one important place where the modern sense of this association is made explicit is in Turing’s (1950) paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence’. The proposals that Turing makes in this paper have been the subject of considerable debate. Here, the details of Turing’s claims will be examined closely and it will be argued that two importantly distinct claims need to be discerned, in order to make good sense of some of Turing’s remarks. The first claim, which may be construed as an ontological one, relates to whether or not the class of entities that ’think’ includes computational devices. The second claim, which is more of a semantic one, relates to whether or not we can meaningfully and coherently assert sentences concerning ’thinking’ about computational devices. It is the second of these claims which will be the main focus of most of the rest of the paper. In particular, four methods will be employed to determine whether Turing’s prediction about this issue has come true. The methods examined are an intuitive one, a web based one and two corpus linguistic approaches, one using the Google Books corpus, the other using the Corpus of Contemporary American English. Attention is then briefly turned to the ontological claim and two objections to it are examined. It will finally be argued that, while it is okay to talk of computers ’thinking’ and to attribute some mental properties and predicates to them in certain cases, the membership of computers in the class of ’thinking things’ must remain just an intriguing possibility.

Keywords

Turing Computational Thought Corpus Linguistics 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Berkeley, I.: CajunBot: A Case Study in Embodied Cognition. In: Calvo, P., Gomila, A. (eds.) Handbook of Cognitive Science: An Embodied Approach. Elsevier B.V, Amsterdam (2008)Google Scholar
  2. Boden, M.: Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2006)Google Scholar
  3. Burke, R.: Opus Majus of Roger Bacon. University of Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia (1928)Google Scholar
  4. Davies, M.: The Corpus of Contemporary English as the First Reliable Monitor Corpus of English. Literary and Linguistic Computing 25, 447–465 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davies, M., Gardner, D.: A Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary American English. Routledge, London (2010)Google Scholar
  6. Dennett, D.: The Intentional Stance. MIT Press, Cambridge (1987)Google Scholar
  7. Dreyfus, H.: What Computers Still Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason. MIT Press, Cambridge (1992)Google Scholar
  8. Google. Google books (2011), http://books.google.com/intl/en/googlebooks/history.html (retrieved from November 25, 2011)
  9. Hales, S.: The Problem of Intuition. American Philosophical Quarterly 37, 135–147 (2000)Google Scholar
  10. Hayes, P., Berkeley, I., Bringsjord, S., Hartcastle, V., McKee, G., Stufflebeam, R.: What is a computer? An electronic discussion. The Monist 80, 389–404 (1997)Google Scholar
  11. Haugeland, J.: Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea. MIT Press, Cambridge (1989)Google Scholar
  12. Horn, R.: Using Argumentation Analysis to Examine History and Status of a Major Debate in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy. In: van Eemeren, F., Grootendorst, R., Blair, J., Willard, C. (eds.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, pp. 375–381. SicSat, Amsterdam (1998)Google Scholar
  13. Hundt, M., Nesselhauf, N., Biewer, C.: Corpus Linguistics and the Web, pp. 1–6. Rodopi B.V, Amsterdam (2007)Google Scholar
  14. James, W.: Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. Longmans, Green and Co., New York (1910)Google Scholar
  15. Lakoff, G.: Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1987)Google Scholar
  16. McCarthy, J.: Ascribing Mental Qualities to Machines. In: Ringle, M. (ed.) Philosophical Perspectives in Artificial Intelligence, pp. 161–195. Harvester Press, Sussex (1979)Google Scholar
  17. McEnery, T., Wilson, A.: Corpus Linguistics. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh (1996)Google Scholar
  18. Michel, J.-B., Shen, Y., Aiden, A., Veres, A., Gray, M., Brockman, W., The Google Books Team, Pickett, J., Hoiberg, D., Clancy, D., Norvig, P., Orwant, J., Pinker, S., Nowak, M., Aiden, E.: Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science 331, 176–182(2010)Google Scholar
  19. Nietzsche, F.: On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense. In: Kauffmann, W. (ed.) The Portable Nietzsche, pp. 42–46. Viking Penguin, London (1873)Google Scholar
  20. Renouf, A.: WebCorp: Providing a renewable data source for corpus linguists. Language and Computers 48, 39–58 (2003)Google Scholar
  21. Searle, J.: Minds, Brains and Programs. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 417–424 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Smith, B.: On the Origin of Objects. MIT Press, Cambridge (1996)Google Scholar
  23. Stein, D.: Ada: A life and a legacy. MIT Press, Cambridge (1985)Google Scholar
  24. Turing, A.: Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 236, 433–460 (1950)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy and Cognitive ScienceThe University of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of EnglishThe University of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations