Intentionality and Artificial Intelligence

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  • Created by: A. Person
  • Created on: 07-09-14 17:57

Intentionality and Artificial Intelligence

  • Many mental states are  about something – objects or events in the world. For instance, I might have a belief about Paris, a desire for chocolate, be angry at the government, or intend to go to the pub.

  • This idea of 'directedness' is known as Intentionality.

  • Intentionality is not about intention – it is the thought or mental state that aims at its object, what it is about, and no 'doing' needs to be involved. Beliefs, desires, emotions, all have Intentionality; they are all Intentional mental states.

  • The Intentionality under consideration here does include the idea of an agent’s intentions to do things, but is also much broader, applying to any sort of object-directed thought or experience whatsoever. So, while it would be normal to say that “Jack intended to score a point when he kicked the ball toward the goal”, in the sense of ‘intention’ pertinent to Husserl it is equally correct to say that “Jack intended the bird as a blue jay" - The latter being a way of saying that Jack directed his mind toward the bird by thinking of it or perceiving it as a blue jay.

  •  Intentional Stances represent the world in particular and partial ways - in Oedipus Rex, Oedipus kills a man, not knowing he was his father, and marries a woman, not knowing she was his mother; his intentional stance did not cover the fact that the two people where his parents; his representation did not include this. It's like seeing something from a particular aspect – you see some, but not all, of it.

  • What intentional stances represent – Paris, London, the government, a father – is called 'the Intentional Object'

  • The way they represent that object, we call the object's aspectual shape – so, Intentional object plus the object's aspectual shape, equals Intentional content.

  • We can have different mental states with the same intentional content – eg. I can not believe I'm arriving late, I can want to be late, I can fear being late... So an intentional state comprises an attitude or mode (an aspectual shape) towards intentional content.

Problems for Reduction

  • Intentionality poses a challenge: how can something physical have the property of intentionality? Physical things are never about anything.

  • To say what it is for a physical state/thing to be what it is doesn't require reference to anything else – a molecular structure or physical process isn't about anything.

  • But the states and processes of your brain are just physical chemical states and processess... So how could they ever be about anything? And therefore how could Intentional mental states be part of your brain at all?

  • Functionalism claims that Intentionality is a functional property. A physical thing can have the property of Intentionality because of its role in a network of causes and effects. But how


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