Philosophy Word of the Day – Turing Test

Alan Turing

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“A test devised by Alan Turing in the 1950s intended to determine machine intelligence.  This test was invented by Alan M. Turing (1912-1954) and first described in his 1950 article. The basic setup of the test includes two people and the machine to be tested. One person is an interrogator, and the other person and the machine are respondents. The interrogator and respondents are all in different rooms and thus physically separated. The interrogator can only ask questions via a keyboard (e.g. a teletype or computer terminal). Both respondents attempt to convince the interrogator that they are the human respondent. Turing suggested that the test should be run for five minutes or so, but the precise length is somewhat irrelevant. This, then, is an imitation game for the machine.

“The machine is said to pass the test if the interrogator can not tell the difference between the respondents, or guesses at chance at the identity of the respondents. The machine fails the test if the interrogator can tell the difference. Turing thought that any machine which passes the test should be considered intelligent, or more precisely, should be considered to ‘think’.

“In other words, Turing proposed the test as a sufficient criterion for machine intelligence. He felt it was not a necessary condition because of the possibility that intelligent creatures could not correctly participate (for some physical reason) in the game. However, as Block (1995) points out it is possible to satisfy the Turing test with an unintelligent, physically possible machine. This means that the test does not seem to be a sufficient criterion either. If the test is neither necessary nor sufficient, perhaps it can be considered a ‘mark’ of intelligence, rather than criterial for intelligence.”

Turing, A.M. (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 59, 433-560.

Block, N. (1995). Mind as the software of the brain. In D. Osherson, L. Gleitman, S. Kosslyn, E. Smith and S. Sternberg (eds). Invitation to Cognitive Science, MIT Press. [online version]

— Chris Eliasmith at Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind

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The Missing Links – Sept. 9, 2011

Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King’s College London, takes listeners through the history of Western philosophy, “without any gaps.” Beginning with the earliest ancient thinkers, the series will look at the ideas and lives of the major philosophers (eventually covering in detail such giants as Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Aquinas, Descartes, and Kant) as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition.

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The purpose of this site is to set [the] contemporary ‘God Wars’ in their historical context, and to offer a range of perspectives (from all sides) on the chief issues raised by the ‘new atheists’. We hope this will encourage more informed opinion about the issues, discourage oversimplification of the debate, and deepen the interest in the subject.

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Edgar Andrews answers this question in an article written for the Christian Apologetics Alliance.

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DeWeese on the Task of the Christian Philosopher

“As Christian philosophers, we must practice in our profession what we claim in our confession.  The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that Christ is not only the power of God but also the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24).  True wisdom is Christocentric in its origin and application.  Specifically, I think that as Christian philosophers we have a solemn duty to discover what Jesus believed and taught, and then believe, teach and defend that.  This is a beginning, of course; there is much in contemporary philosophy that Jesus did not directly address, just as there is much in modern physics that he did not speak to.  But where he spoke, and where his words have direct implications for our subjects, we must listen and learn.  Christian philosophers should not be so eager to surf the cultural swell that we cannot hear and heed our Lord’s clear teaching.

“. . . Christian philosophers can serve the Lord by doing what we do well—analysis, clarification, justification.  But Christian philosophers should not ever lose sight of the fact that serving the Lord entails as well serving his people.  Does our research and our teaching ultimately contribute to clarifying, demonstrating and confirming the truth of the credenda of the faith?  Do we, in the end, have anything to contribute to the project of helping our culture understand and pursue genuine human flourishing?  Will the church and the world be better for what we do?”

Garrett J. DeWeese in Doing Philosophy as a Christian (IVP, 2011), 63, 64.

 

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Philosophy Word of the Day – Entropy

Mischentropie

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“Entropy is a thermodynamic quantity whose value depends on the physical state or condition of a system. It is useful in physics as a means of expressing the Second Law of Thermodynamics. That is, while the law may be stated in terms of it being impossible to extract heat from a reservoir and convert it totally to usable work, in terms of entropy the law states that any changes occurring in a system that is thermally isolated from its surroundings are such that its entropy never decreases.

“This behavior corresponds to the fact that entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. On average all of nature proceeds to a greater state of disorder. Examples of irreversible progression to disorder are pervasive in the world and in everyday experience. Bread crumbs will never gather back into the loaf. Helium atoms that escape from a balloon never return. A drop of ink placed in a glass of water will uniformly color the entire glass and never assemble into its original shape.

“. . . This progressive tendency of nature toward disorder has been considered by many scholars as one of the primal natural processes that serve as a gauge for the irreversible nature of time. Accordingly, a considerable number have identified the relentless increase of entropy with what they term the thermodynamic arrow of time. In addition, the degradation associated with the increase of entropy has been discussed by some scholars of science and religion as a meaningful metaphor for evil.”

“Entropy” in Encyclopedia of Science and Religion

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