Computation, among other things, is beneath us

Minds and Machines 4 (4):469-88 (1994)
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Abstract

What''s computation? The received answer is that computation is a computer at work, and a computer at work is that which can be modelled as a Turing machine at work. Unfortunately, as John Searle has recently argued, and as others have agreed, the received answer appears to imply that AI and Cog Sci are a royal waste of time. The argument here is alarmingly simple: AI and Cog Sci (of the Strong sort, anyway) are committed to the view that cognition is computation (or brains are computers); butall processes are computations (orall physical things are computers); so AI and Cog Sci are positively silly.I refute this argument herein, in part by defining the locutions x is a computer and c is a computation in a way that blocks Searle''s argument but exploits the hard-to-deny link between What''s Computation? and the theory of computation. However, I also provide, at the end of this essay, an argument which, it seems to me, implies not that AI and Cog Sci are silly, but that they''re based on a form of computation that is well beneath human persons.

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Selmer Bringsjord
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

References found in this work

Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.

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