Last Update: 25 March 2004
Note: or material is highlighted
For this position paper, I would like you to evaluate the following hypothetical debate.
Pro: If something behaves in all relevant ways as if it were
cognitive, then it is cognitive.
Con: What do you mean by "being cognitive"?
Pro: I mean that it can perceive (see, hear, etc.); has beliefs, desires, and intentions; can remember; can use and understand natural language; can reason and make rational decisions; etc. You know, the sort of thing that AI researchers are trying to achieve by computational means.
Con: Do you think they will succeed?
Pro: I'm optimistic: I think that a suitable AI program (or maybe a suite of programs) will eventually behave in all these ways.
Con: But that means that you think that such an AI program will be cognitive?
Con: But that's crazy! Computer programs are purely syntactic!
Pro: Now it's my turn to ask for clarification: What do you mean by "syntactic"?
Con:: I mean that all it can do is to manipulate the symbols of a formal symbol system.
Pro:: So what's the problem?
Con:: The problem is that cognition is semantic! That is, it involves the semantic interpretation of those symbols.
Pro:: Well, I'm not so sure about that. But suppose you're right. What then?
Con: Well, syntax does not suffice for semantics. So, no purely syntactic computer program can exhibit semantic cognition, even if it behaves in all relevant ways as if it were cognitive.
|1-2 typed pages, double-spaced (i.e., about 250-500 words), and single-sided.|
|DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF LECTURE, TUESDAY, APRIL 20|