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Paper 1 - questions so that this creature could pass the...

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Philosophy 262g J. Levin Spring, 2012 Paper #1 “Suppose we put a computer inside a robot, and this computer would not just take in formal symbols as input and give out formal symbols as output, but rather would actually operate the robot in such a way that the robot does something very much like perceiving, walking, moving about, hammering nails, anything you like. The robot would, for example, have a television camera attached to it that enabled it to see, it would have arms and legs that enabled it to ‘act’ and all of this would be controlled by its computer ‘brain’. Such a robot would…have genuine understanding and other mental states.” (Searle, MBP, p. 362; Course Reader) This is what Searle calls the “Robot Reply” to his “Chinese Room” thought experiment (and presumably, the “anything you like” includes giving appropriate answers to a wide range of
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Unformatted text preview: questions, so that this creature could pass the Turing Test). (a) Why do those who give the Robot Reply think that such creatures could have “genuine understanding (of language) and other mental states”, even if finite state digital computers not connected to a robot body could not? (b) Why does Searle disagree? (c) Who, in your view, is correct—and why? In answering (c) you may cite material from Turing, Searle, Angier, Markoff, the Claudia Dreifus interview with Anne Foerst, the S. Lohr article posted on Blackboard, or any of our other readings in support of your view. Papers should be about 5 pages long, and should be e-mailed to your discussion leader by Sunday, February 12, 5PM. Late papers will be docked 1/3 grade for each day late....
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