The progress in the fields related to Artificial Intelligence has been enormous in the last 40 years. If already in 1997 the computer Deep Blue beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov, today we can observe several robots and computers passing the Turing test (and trick you into believing you are having a conversation with another human being) or being able to simulate cognitive capacities such as memory, decision-making and categorization tasks.
Still, it is philosophically interesting to wonder if what is observed in machines is intelligence at all. A more humanistic perspective, for example, might suggest that in the end, we are just focusing on objects that are nothing more than human cultural artifacts built on social norms to facilitate our everyday life. To respond to this question, we must achieve a good definition of cognition and intelligence. In this seminar, we will be focusing exactly on these questions and ultimately on the differences between artificial and human intelligence. The book we are going to read is “What Computers Still Can’t do: A Critique of Artificial Reason” by Hubert Dreyfus (1992). Starting from a phenomenological perspective (in particular Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty), Dreyfus criticizes the optimism typical of philosophers that consider biological minds and computers alike. Dreyfus will provide philosophical arguments to demonstrate that cognition is not a matter of information processing and computations such as in a game of chess. In contrast, he will lay the seed for a more embodied and know-how understanding of intelligence that is crucial for contemporary embodied and enactive approaches in philosophy of mind.
The seminar will be in English in order to prepare students for the International debate and the material will be provided by the lecturer. International students and from non-philosophical disciplines are also welcome.