Robots and Rule-Following

  • Diane Proudfoot


Turing was probably the first person to advocate the pursuit of robotics as a route to Artificial Intelligence and Wittgenstein the first to argue that, without the appropriate history, no machine could be intelligent. Wittgenstein anticipated much recent theorizing about the mind, including aspects of connectionist theories of mind and the situated cognition approach in AI. Turing and Wittgenstein had a wary respect for each other and there is significant overlap in their work, in both the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of AI. Both took (what would now be called) an externalist stance with respect to machine intelligence. But whereas Turing was concerned only with behaviour, Wittgenstein emphasized in addition history and environment. I show that Wittgenstein’s externalist analysis of psychological capacities entails that most, even all, future “artificially intelligent” computers and robots will not use language, possess concepts, or reason. The argument tells, not against AI, but only against AI’s traditional and romantic goal of building an artificial “res cogitans” — as first embraced by Turing and now exemplified in the work of Brooks and others on cognitive robotics. This argument supports the stance of the growing number of AI researchers whose aim is to produce, not thinking and understanding machines, but high-performance “advanced information processing systems.”


Turing Machine Humanoid Robot Turing Test Artificial Intelligence System Chinese Room 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane Proudfoot
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of CanterburyNew Zealand

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