Minds and Machines 3 (1):11-20 (1993)

William J. Rapaport
State University of New York, Buffalo
Hauser argues that his pocket calculator (Cal) has certain arithmetical abilities: it seems Cal calculates. That calculating is thinking seems equally untendentious. Yet these two claims together provide premises for a seemingly valid syllogism whose conclusion - Cal thinks - most would deny. He considers several ways to avoid this conclusion, and finds them mostly wanting. Either we ourselves can't be said to think or calculate if our calculation-like performances are judged by the standards proposed to rule out Cal; or the standards- e.g., autonomy and self-consciousness- make it impossible to verify whether anything or anyone (save oneself) meets them. While appeals to the intentionality of thought or the unity of minds provide more credible lines of resistance, available accounts of intentionality and mental unity are insufficiently clear and warranted to provide very substantial arguments against Cal's title to be called a thinking thing. Indeed, considerations favoring granting that title are more formidable than is generally appreciated. Rapaport's comments suggest that, on a strong view of thinking, mere calculating is not thinking (and pocket calculators don't think), but on a weak, but unexciting, sense of thinking, pocket calculators do think. He closes with some observations on the implications of this conclusion.
Keywords Artificial Intelligence  Causation  Mind  Puzzle  Science  Unity  Hauser, L
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DOI 10.1007/BF00974302
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References found in this work BETA

Minds, Brains, and Programs.John R. Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

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Citations of this work BETA

How Minds Can Be Computational Systems.William J. Rapaport - 1998 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 10 (4):403-419.
AI Ethics and the Banality of Evil.Payman Tajalli - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):447-454.
The Sense of Thinking.Larry Hauser - 1993 - Minds and Machines 3 (1):21-29.

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