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Episteme

Abstract

The author of this paper makes an analogy between the 20th century debate in artificial intelligence and the 18th and 19th century debate concerning the design of the natural world. In the more recent disagreement, Turing and Searle represent the two poles in the AI discussion of computers and intentionality. In the earlier debate, the author identifies theologian William Paley and Hume as opposites, displaying arguments quite similar to those raised in the contemporary hot topic of AI. The author ends his overview of both debates by introducing the argument that moves the topic into a direction that makes use of the debaters’ thoughts but ultimately leaves them behind. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Dennett’s theory of intentionality based on natural selection demonstrate strong alternatives to the philosophical theorizing happening in the two debates. Dennett’s thesis, in particular, either raises doubts about human authority, or challenges science to come up with a better way to describe human purpose.

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