Philosophy and Computing 101 – The Cartesian, AI, and Materialistic Monism   no comments

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Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction – Luciano Floridi
Notes on and around

Further reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: ‘The Computational Theory of Mind’

Cartesianism: Cartesians view the mind as being wholly separate from the corporeal body. Sensation and the perception of reality are thought to be the source of untruth and illusions, with the only reliable truths to be had in the existence of a metaphysical mind. Such a mind can perhaps interact with a physical body, but it does not exist in the body, nor even in the same physical plane as the body. In general, Cartesian thought divides the world into three areas of existence: that inhabited by the physical body (matter), that inhabited by the mind, and that inhabited by God.

Materialistic monism (or monistic materialism) is the philosophical concept which sees the unity of matter in its globality. For the materialistic monist the cosmos is “one” and comprehensive, then a “one-all” made up of parts such as its effects. The matter is then originary and cause of all reality.

Computational theory of mind: Hilary Putnam – the mind functions as a computer or symbol manipulator. Such theories have taken several forms, among which the most common is the theory that the mind computes input from the natural world to create outputs in the form of further mental or physical states. A computation is the process of taking input and following a step-by-step algorithm to get a specific output. The computational theory of mind claims that there are certain aspects of the mind that follow step by step processes to compute representations of the world. (Mathematics, Matter, and Method, 1979)

Considering GOFAI in phil, the above PsOV are necessary BUT very reductionist (sees intelligence (mind/awareness) as a form of symbolic processing (computing)). Also involves functional behaviourism (Turing Test)

GOFAI has been funded by hundreds of millions of dollars (military), and has been crude and difficult. Partially, too much centred on human ability to think rationally (intelligently?)

p135 Turing’s Test – Will get more into that and its legacy next week

ELIZA (1964-7) could mimic language from analysis (and even learn/improvise).

Problems with TT p136-141
8 pages of ways to ‘measure’ human intelligence (factors necessary to produce GOFAI)

Problem: trying to build machines that think as well as (and in the same way as) the current ‘best’ processing machine (ie the brain) is doomed to failure (like trying to make people fly by flapping your arms).

LAI ‘succeeds’ in many ways as it’s “performance-oriented or constructionist not mimetic.” p150
We don’t really need  to do what a human would in a certain situation (have opinions, insights, intuitions, mistakes, etc), though we can emulate the good (problem-solving) bits.

Written by Elzabi Rimington on October 22nd, 2012

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