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Philosophers! Help!


Previous philosophical discussion of certain conecpts has been helpful to AI. In this I include the Austin-Searle discussion of speech acts, Grice's discussion of conversational implicatures, various discussions of natural kinds, modal logic and the notion of philosophy as a science. Maybe some of the philosophical discussions of causality and counterfactuals will be useful for AI. In this paragraph I have chosen to be stingy with credit.

Philosophers could help artificial intelligence more than they have done if they would put some attention to some more detailed conceptual problems such as the following:

What belief statements are useful?

What is the relation between naming an occurrence and its suboccurrences? He went to Boston. How? He drove to the airport, parked and took UA 34.

When is the answer to a question responsive? Thus ``Vladimir's wife's husband's telephone number'' is a true but not responsive answer to a request for Vladimir's telephone number.

useful causality
What causal statements are useful?

useful counterfactuals
What counterfactuals are useful and why? ``If another car had come over the hill when you passed, there would have been a head-on collision.''

John McCarthy
Tue Apr 23 22:16:53 PDT 1996