Uri Laserson's Thesis Defense: High-Throughput …
Plato’s argument, as it stands, appears to be damaging onlyif we assume that Protagoras, at least implicitly, is committed to theuniversal or objective truth of relativism. On this view, Plato begsthe question on behalf of an absolutist conception of truth (Burnyeat1976a: 44). Protagoras, the relativists counter, could indeed acceptthat his own doctrine is false for those who acceptabsolutism but continue believing that his doctrine is truefor him. He could also try to persuade others to become the sortof thinker for whom relativism is true without being entangled inself-contradiction. Such an effort at persuasions, however, couldinvolve Protagoras in a performative contradiction as the relativistcannot assume that her arguments are good for persuadingothers. Ordinarily, the very act of defending a philosophical positioncommits us to the dialectical move of attempting to convince ourinterlocutors of the superior value of what we are arguingfor. The relativist cannot make such a commitment and therefore hisattempts to persuade others to accept his position may bepragmatically self-refuting. The relativist can avoid the standardcharge of self-refutation by accepting that relativism cannot beproven true in any non-relative sense—viz., thatrelativism itself as a philosophical position is at best true onlyrelative to a cultural or historical context and therefore could befalse in other frameworks or cultures. But such an admission willundermine the relativist’s attempt to convince others of herposition, for the very act of argumentation, as it is commonlyunderstood, is an attempt to convince those who disagree with us ofthe falsehood of their position. In other words, if Protagoras reallybelieves in relativism why would he bother to argue for it?
Vlad Trifa - Final PhD Thesis Defense at ETH Zurich
The final defense of my phd thesis at ETH Zurich
Work in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has produced computer programsthat can beat the world chess champion and defeat the best humanplayers on the television quiz show . AI has alsoproduced programs with which one can converse in natural language,including Apple's . Our experience shows that playing chessor , and carrying on a conversation, are activitiesthat require understanding and intelligence. Does computer prowess atchallenging games and conversation then show that computers canunderstand and be intelligent? Will further development result indigital computers that fully match or even exceed human intelligence?Alan Turing (1950), oneof the pioneer theoreticians of computing, believed the answer tothese questions was “yes”. Turing proposed what is now known as “TheTuring Test”: if a computer can pass for human in online chat, we should grant thatit is intelligent. By the late 1970s some AI researchers claimed thatcomputers already understood at least some natural language. In 1980U.C. Berkeley philosopher John Searle introduced a short andwidely-discussed argument intended to show conclusively that it isimpossible for digital computers to understand language or think.
Thesis and Dissertation | Graduate School
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