Artificial intelligence and de las Casas: A 1492 resonance

Zygon 28 (4):543-550 (1993)
. A comparison is made between two unlikely debates over intelligence. One debate took place in 1550 at Valladolid, Spain, between Bartolomé de las Casas and Juan Gines de Sepúlveda over the intelligence of the Amerindian. The other debate is contemporary, between John Searle and various representatives of the “strong” artificial intelligence community over the adequacy of the Turing test for intelligence. Although the contemporary debate has yet to die down, the Valladolid debate has been over for four hundred years. The question asked here is whether the contemporary debate can profit from the previous one. The common bond providing the basis for contrast is the issue of the “other” which is present in both debates. From this contrast, the observation is made that the question of meaning is intimately tied to the question of intelligence
Keywords New World  Chinese room  1492  de las Casas  Turing  Searle  artificial intelligence  America
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01055.x
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