[Wittrs] Re: Who beat Kasparov?

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 12:57:07 -0000

Very short of time today but trying to be responsive.

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> --- On Wed, 3/17/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:


> > How I view it will depend on
> > context and it seems to me that in the context that is
> > alluded to in the Dennett text you quoted, it is perfectly
> > reasonable to say Deep Blue beat Kasparov.
> In casual conversation we say many things that seem reasonable but which on 
> close inspection demand clarity. This question of who/what beat Kasparov 
> seems to me such a case. I see it as a good test case for ferreting out your 
> real convictions, if any, about the supposed mental states of computers. If 
> you cannot formulate a clear answer then it seems pointless to discuss the 
> CRA.
> Do you understand the meaning of as-if intentionality? I hope to find some 
> common vocabulary here.

You need to say what you mean. "as-if intentionality" is a technical term 
coined by Searle, I believe. It's not ordinary language though it's parts are 
pretty ordinary and, presumably, we can interpret what it means. But since you 
are invoking the concept, you should say what YOU mean by it and what you 
expect me to mean by it. I didn't introduce the term in this case.

As to my "real convictions", I've already said what they are. I think that the 
machine beat Kasparov.

> You asked for a definition of intentionality. I offer a good working 
> definition from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
> "Intentionality is the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand 
> for, things, properties and states of affairs."

Okay, we agree. What is "as-if intentionality" which you invoke here. A make 
believe variant? An imputed variant that isn't really there?
Recall that my point is that, if Dennett is right, and I think he makes a good 
point, there is no there there to begin with (to paraphrase Gertrude Stein when 
speaking of Oakland).

> Kasparov has intentionality, specifically about the states of affairs on the 
> chess board. Deep Blue has only AS-IF intentionality about those same states 
> of affairs; that is, we speak of Deep Blue AS IF it has conscious mental 
> contents but it has none. Deep Blue exists as a mindless machine with no more 
> mental contents than a can-opener.

We agree. However, as I said in  my earlier response to you, I don't think 
being intentional is essential to describing a game player in all contexts and 
certainly not in this one.

> Because Deep Blue has only as-if intentionality, we can say only that Deep 
> Blue behaved as-if it beat Kasparov.

You mean "make believe" intentionality? Well it's true Deep Blue isn't 
intentional. But that doesn't mean that Deep Blue wasn't in the game nor does 
it mean that intentionality is some kind of entity or quality that an entity 
has. Yes we can refer to it, yes we can speak of it as a thing in certain 
circumstances. But that doesn't mean that there is something to be found that 
goes beyond, behaviors, dispositions to behave and certain subjective 
experiences. And if there isn't then the fact that Deep Blue isn't intentional 
is not evidence that nothing like Deep Blue could be.

Moreover I am saying that Deep Blue is very much in the game with Kasparov, 
even if not in the same way that you or I or Karpov would have been.

> In reality the designers of Deep BLue beat Kasparov using Deep Blue as a 
> tool. Nothing as-if about that fact.
> -gts

This strikes me as simply an assertion of your beliefs again, the way you 
choose to talk about this. But it still says nothing about what it means to be 
a subject, to be intentional or about what can be done with machines to make 
them subjective and intentional which, finally, is the real issue here. I agree 
with Dennett that it makes sense to say that Deep Blue beat Kasparov.

More when I have more time. Thanks.


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