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Summer 2011 Thursday, 07/21 Appeals to Intuition • Intuitively, it may not seem that the Chinese room has understanding or that the Blockhead or China-brain have consciousness. • Philosophers call these sorts of thought- experiments intuition pumps. • Intuition pumps can show how counter- intuitive the consequences of a theory, e.g. machine functionalism, can be. Appeals to Intuition • But what exactly does the fact that we find something intuitive/counter-intuitive show? • In science we often accept some pretty wild, counter-intuitive, claims. (Aristotle thought that a heavier object must fall to the ground faster than a lighter one. That’s very intuitive, but false!) • Why can’t we do the same in the Chinese- room, the Blockhead and the China-brain cases? Appeals to Intuition • This is tricky territory. Full consideration of the issue will take us far into the theory of knowledge and rationality. • Everything here is extremely controversial and the answer may vary depending on domain, e.g. physical science, psychology, mathematics, etc. • But here’s one, far from definitive, suggestion. Appeals to Intuition • Our intuitive judgments reveal something about our concepts/ways-of-thinking. • For example, someone (e.g. a child) may find it extremely counterintuitive that water is really the same substance as ice. • This may reveal that the person is thinking of water as a liquid and of ice as a solid. Appeals to Intuition • But of course, the abundance of scientific evidence shows that the counterintuitive claim is, in fact, true. • The person’s concept, or way of thinking of water, does not line up with or reflect what water really is. • From an epistemic (or purely “rational”)standpoint, the person should start thinking of water in a different way. Appeals to Intuition • Similarly, it may be counterintuitive to regard the Chinese room (or any system like it) as having thought/understanding. • But if we have strong, scientific evidence to believe that thought/understanding arises from this sort of symbol manipulation, we should disregard our intuitions and think about thought/understanding in a different way. • We’ve already looked at some reasons for regarding thought in this way and we’ll look at others next week. But it’s fishy that Searle never even begins to deal with this question. Appeals to Intuition • Still, it seems that we should be entitled to go with our intuitive judgments in cases where no scientific evidence to disregard them is found. • Again, this is extremely controversial. But something like this does seem to be our ordinary practice. It’s hard to see how we could engage in any inquiry whatsoever if all of our concepts were constantly put to doubt. • This can help us grasp the difference between Searle’s and Block’s approaches… Everyday Coping Argument • Phenomenology = Philosophical Movement • phenomenology = experience • Dreyfus gives a phenomenological argument against the idea that intelligence consists in manipulating symbols according to formal/syntactic rules. Everyday Coping Argument • Early AI researchers have tried to model common sense by coming up with a complicated theory that we bring to bear to concrete situations. • Since this have proven difficult, they focused on modeling specific skills (seemingly isolated from common sense), e.g. disease diagnosis. • A computer program that models such a skill is called an expert system. You are probably familiar with ones… Everyday Coping Argument • The assumption was that learning a skill consists in first deriving general rules from specific cases. • We first follow the rules explicitly, but then get so good at following the rules that we don’t even need to think about them at all. • Even though we don’t need to think about the rules, the rules still guide our conduct. • If this is right, all we need to do to imitate the behavior of the expert is to figure out which rules the expert follows and building a PSS that would carry out these rules. Everyday Coping Argument • The assumption that expertise consists in following rules goes back to Socrates. • Socrates questions Euthyphro, a self- proclaimed expert on piety, to tell him how to distinguish pious from impious acts. • Euthyphro fails to articulate a general principle and just points to cases. • “Socrates ran into the same problem with craftsmen, poets and even statesmen. They also could not articulate the principles underlying their expertise. Socrates therefore concluded that none of these experts knew anything and he didn't know anything either.” Everyday Coping Argument • “Plato admired Socrates and saw his problem. So he developed an account of what caused the difficulty. Experts, at least in areas involving non- empirical knowledge such as morality and mathematics, had, in another life, Plato said, learned the principles involved, but they had forgotten them. The role of the philosopher was to help such moral and mathematical experts recollect the principles on which they acted.” (from Dreyfus) • Notice the resemblance between this Platonic view of rules and the AI researchers’ view! Phenomenological Arguments • Dreyfus tries to describe the experience of becoming an expert in “slow motion”. • He claims that paying close attention to our experience of acquiring skills reveals that being an expert does not consist in following internalized rules at all. • Assessing such a phenomenological argument involves figuring out whether his description reflects your own experience of learning a skill.
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