Behavior and Philosophy, Vol. 22, No.1 (Spring/Summer, 1994), pp. 21-40.

Acting, Intending, and Artificial Intelligence

Essay, Comments, and Reply by

Larry Hauser

Michigan State University

Keith Gunderson

University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Hauser considers John Searle's attempt to distinguish acts from movements. On Searle's account, the difference between me raising my arm and my arm's just going up (e.g., if you forcibly raise it), is the causal involvement of my intention to raise my arm in the former, but not the latter, case. Yet, we distinguish a similar difference between a robot's raising its arm and its robot arm just going up (e.g., if you manually raise it). Either robots are rightly credited with intentions or it's not intention that distinguishes action from mere movement. In either case acts are attributable to robots. Since the truth of such attributions depends not on the speaker's "intentional stance" but on "intrinsic" features of the things they are not merely figurative "as if" attributions.

Gunderson allows that internally propelled programmed devices (Hauser Robots) do act but denies that they have the mental properties such acts seem to indicate. Rather, given our intuitive conviction that these machines lack consciousness, such performances evidence the dementalizability of acts.Hauser replies that the performances in question provide prima facie warrant for attributions of mental properties that considerations of consciousness are insufficient to override.


Earlier versions of Hauser's "Acting, Intending, and Artificial Intelligence," Gunderson's commentary, "Movements, Actions, the Internal, and Hauser Robots" (comments on Hauser's paper), and Hauser's "Propositional Actitudes: Reply to Gunderson" were presented at the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association Colloquium on Action Theory, April 25, 1992.

Back to: Home page; Curriculm Vitae;Virtual office ; Top