Master of Arts (MA)
Primary Subject Area
Philosophy; Religion, General; Religion, Philosophy of
Advocates of strong artificial intelligence believe
that properly programmed computers can go beyond the
simulation of intelligent acts so as to instantiate and
exhibit true intelligence, that is, intelligence equivalent
to that of man. In this thesis, I consider three problems
First, John Searle's well-known thought experiment of
the "Chinese Room" is used to reestablish the syntax-semantics
distinction and to show how this distinction
applies to computer programs. I review the Chinese Room,
consider a variety of objections to it, and then expand on
the key points in Searle's work.
Second, 1 examine the Frame Problem in artificial
intelligence, a question made popular by Daniel Dennett.
Rational agents have the ability to adjust their conceptual
schemes and update their noetic web of beliefs so as to
maintain a representation of the world. This ability is
easily observed but not well understood. I argue that
computers lack this ability altogether. The Frame Problem
examines this deficiency and programming techniques designed
to overcome it.
Third, the Overseer problem examines the need for
artificial systems to have a rational agent in place who
designates a given task and determines when that task is
successfully completed by the system. I argue that as long
as this need exists, artificial systems cannot be considered
intelligent in an unequivocal sense.