Comments on 'how would you know if you synthesized a thinking thing'

Minds and Machines 18 (1):107-120 (2008)
In their Minds and Machines essay How would you know if you synthesized a Thinking Thing? (Kary & Mahner, Minds and Machines, 12(1), 61–86, 2002), Kary and Mahner have chosen to occupy a high ground of materialism and empiricism from which to attack the philosophical and methodological positions of believers in artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (AL). In this review I discuss some of their main arguments as well as their philosophical foundations. Their central argument: ‘AI is Platonism’, which is based on a particular interpretation of the notion of ‘definition’ and used as a critique against AI, can be counter criticized from two directions: first, Anti-Platonism is not a necessary precondition for criticizing AI, because outspoken Platonist criticism against AI is already known (Penrose, The emperor’s new mind (with a foreword by M. Gardner), 1989). Second, even in case that AI would essentially be ‘Platonism’ this would not be a sufficient argument for proving AI wrong. In my counter criticism I assume a more or less Popperian position by emphasizing the openness of the future: Not by quasi-Scholastic arguments (like Kary and Mahner’s), but only after being confronted with a novel ‘thinking thing’ by future AI engineers we can start to analyze its particular properties (Let me use a history analogon to illustrate my position: In the 19th century, mechanized aviation was widely regarded impossible—only natural organisms (such as birds or bees) could fly, and any science of aerodynamics or aviation did not exist. Only after some non-scientific technicians had confronted their astonished fellows with the first (obviously) flying machine the science of ‘Artificial Aviation’ came into existence, motivated by the need for understanding and mastering that challenging and puzzling new phenomenon).
Keywords AI   AL   Brain   Computability   Functionalism   Idealism   Matter   Mind   Operationalism   Organism   Platonism   Science of nature   Turing Test
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11023-007-9087-x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
John R. Searle (1980). Minds, Brains and Programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

19 ( #243,710 of 1,925,542 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #254,979 of 1,925,542 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.