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The Intentionality of Machines An Investigation into Computers’ Capacity for Agential Action

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dc.contributor.advisor Macbeth, Danielle Woods, Henry 2019-01-04T16:59:48Z 2019-01-04T16:59:48Z 2018
dc.description.abstract The philosophy of Artificial Intelligence is beset by an intolerable deadlock. In an attempt to answer the question of whether computers can perform the same actions as humans, many philosophers have posited varying solutions. Of particular note are the Machine Functionalist, Biological Naturalist, and Contextualist accounts. By examining the theories that fall under these categories, it becomes plainly obvious that little progress will be made towards deciding this debate, as philosophers of Artificial Intelligence only succeed in talking past each other. The aim of this essay then is to move this debate forward by providing a test that will hopefully create some friction. In order for us to assess computers on their capacity for agency – an essential quality of the sort of actions we are evaluating computers on, such as playing and speaking – we must judge whether computers have the right sort of relationship with the world, one that is Intentional. Whereas the three major accounts delineated in this essay fail to argue against each other on some common point, we will examine how Intentionality plays a role in human action, and why it is necessary for computers to exhibit it in order for them to be doing the relevant action, and not merely mimicking a human performing that same action. This essay will develop these arguments, finally, by examining what relationship a computer would have to have with the world in order for it to be playing chess or speaking language agentially – in other words as a human does.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Philosophy
dc.title The Intentionality of Machines An Investigation into Computers’ Capacity for Agential Action
dc.rights.access Open Access

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