The University of Sussex

The Explanatory Roles of Mental States.

Aaron Sloman

Presented at the Workshop on Impact of AI Vienna, August 1987. Two questions have obsessed, thrilled, and appalled people down the ages. One is whether machines will one day think, the other is whether we are ultimately machines. Is it possible, in principle to create machines with minds, fellings, desires of their own? Is it possible that we are "mere" machines, so that only fond illusions underly cherished concepts like free will, the soul, and the special place of mankind in creation?. The development of Artificial Intelligence has brought these two questions together as never before. The very same concepts, techniques and experiments are being used both in attempts to build new intelligent machines and in detailed efforts to find out what sort of machine the human mind is.

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