Chapter 6 return to philosophy through video games web page
Artificial and Human Intelligence (Action RPGs)

6A Key Words
6B Key Arguments
6C Cool Links
6D Discussion Questions

6A Key Words return to top 

Assembly language
Benign homuncularism
Church-Turing Thesis
Combinatorial syntax
Compositional semantics
Computational paradox
Flexible adaptive richness  
Frame problem
Knowledge by acquaintance 
Knowledge by description   
Language of thought
Machine language
Psychological underdetermination 
Representational semantics 
Semantic underdetermination 
Translation Thesis
Turing’s Thesis  
Uncanny valley effect 

6B Key Arguments return to top

6C Cool Links return to top
  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Propositions” (accessed January 3, 2008).
  2. Wikipedia, “Assembly Language,” (accessed January 3, 2008).
  3. Wikipedia, “Maya,” (accessed April 25, 2008).
  4. Autodesk, “Autodesk Maya” (accessed April 25, 2008).
  5. Allclear, (accessed April 25, 2008).
  6. Stephen Grenade, “Introducing Interactive Fiction,” (accessed April 19, 2008).
  7. Wikipedia, “Quaternions,” (accessed April 26, 2008).
  8. “Storytron Overview,” (accessed January 20, 2008).
  9. Wikipedia, “Computer Chess,” (accessed January 7, 2008).
  10. Wikipedia, “Church-Turing Thesis,” (accessed January 7, 2008).
  11. Ash Asudeh & Ida Toivonen, “Systematic imperfections,” (accessed January 8, 2008).
  12. Cycorp, Inc., (accessed January 22, 2008)
6D Discussion Questions return to top

1. Are animals less intelligent than humnas in the same way that humans can be less intelligent than other humans? Defend your answer.

2. When people talk about "artificial intelligence" in games, what kinds of properties do they usually intend to talk about? Answering this fully will require doing some web research.

3. The authors argue that "flexible adaptive richness" is a key component of intelligence. Describe this property and show how it is involved in human, animal, and machine intelligence (reference your answers to the the above questions). [Sections 5.3.4 and 5.4]

4. Describe both the sensory and cognitive uncanny valley effects. How do good existing games get around these problems? How might future games do so? (Hint- one way to get around the sensory uncanny valley effect is to make the graphics "cartoony." Could there be a cognitive analog to this?)

5. Describe Russell's account of knowledge of the external world  and show what it seems to imply about machine belief and perception. [Section 6.2.1]

6. Describe Fodor's language of thought hypothesis and benign homuncularism.. Make sure to show how these yield a neo-Russellian account of machine rational action. [Sections 6.2.2 and 6.2.3]

7. What is the computational paradox? How does the Chomskyan notion of linguistic "competence"  suggest a solution to one-half of this paradox  (the fact that machines now do many things vastly better than humans). [Section 6.3.2]

8. The authors allege that the signal failure of CRUM comes from the fact that humans possess so much more flexible adaptive richness than machines built using CRUM guidelines. (a) Explain and evaluate Wilson's thesis of the underdetermination of content (Section 6.4.1), (b) showing how people's ability to communicate in spite of it is a key case of flexible adaptive richness, and (c) how this undermines CRUM's Russellian account of belief. [Section 3.4]

9. What is the frame problem? Explain and evaluate with reference to video games and your previous points (in the above answers) about flexible adaptive richness. [Section 6.4.2]

10. To the best of your ability (this is hard and if your logic background is not great, don't despair): (a) explain the Church-Turing Yhesis, (b) explain the limitation results discussed by the authors, and (c) show why this might be a problem for CRUM's account of inference. A complete answer will involve reference to your answer to number Seven above. [Section 6.4.3]

11. As clearly and concisely as possible, describe CRUM's accounts of (a) perception, (b) belief, (c) action, and (d) inference. In Section 3.4 the authors present problems for all of these. What problems have the authors missed both in relation to biological (humans/animal) and mechanical (computer) cognition. To what extent does the discussion of creativity in the previous chapter also have bearing on this issue?

12. The authors assert the following two startling claims: (a) that even though CRUM is false, much more academic and commercial research and development is needed, and (b) if and when good machine intelligences are developed, the thinking/feeling/acting machines may be so complicated that we do not fully understand the mechanical basis of their intelligence. Evaluate and Explain both claims. [Section 3.5, including footnotes]

13. Write a memo to your software team with ideas about how the games your company designs will exhibit more flexible adaptive richness (make sure and explain all relevant concepts (e.g. underdetermination, the frame problem) adequately.