Updating the Turing Test Wittgenstein, Turing and Symbol Manipulation
Carlo Penco
University of Genoa.
DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.23029   PDF    HTML     5,096 Downloads   8,038 Views   Citations


In this paper I present an argument against the feasibility of the Imitation Game as a test for thinking or language understanding. The argument is different from the five objections presented by Turing in his original paper, although it tries to maintain his original intention. I therefore call it “the Sixth Argument” or “the Argument from Context”. I show that – although the argument works against the original version of the imitation game – it may suggest a new version of the Turing Test, still coherent with the idea of thinking and understanding as symbol manipulation. In a new form, the main idea which lies behind the original Imitation Game remains untouched by the criticism of Searle’s Chinese room argument and suggest a possible implementation which avoids some of the shortcomings of the original Turing Test.

Share and Cite:

Penco, C. (2012) Updating the Turing Test Wittgenstein, Turing and Symbol Manipulation. Open Journal of Philosophy, 2, 189-194. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.23029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Cappelen, H., & Lepore, E. (2004). Insensitive semantics. A defence of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism. Oxford: Blackwell.
[2] Cohen, P. (2006). If not Turing’s test, then what? AI Magazine, 26, 61-67.
[3] Cole, D. (2009). The Chinese room argument. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition).
[4] Copeland, B. J. (2001). The Turing test. Mind and Machines, 10, 519-539. doi:10.1023/A:1011285919106
[5] French, R. (2000). The Turing test: The frst fifty years. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 115-121. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01453-4
[6] Harnad, S. (1991). Other bodies, other minds: A machine incarnation of an old philosophical problem. Mind and Machines, 1, 43-54.
[7] Harnad, S. (2000). Mind, machines and Turing. The indistinguishability of the indistinguishable. Mind and Machines, 9, 425-445.
[8] Hayes, P., & Ford, K. (1995). Turing test considered harmful. Proceedings of the 14th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. San Francisco: Morgam Kaufman Publishers.
[9] Hayes, P., & Ford, K. (1997). Talking heads—A review of speaking minds: Interviews with twenty eminent cognitive scientists. AI Magazine, 18, 123-125.
[10] Korta, K., & Perry, J. (2011). Critical pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[11] Guha, R., & McCarthy, J. (2003). Varieties of contexts. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, 2116, 290-303.
[12] McCarthy, J. (1990). Formalizing commonsense. New York: Ablex.
[13] Moor, J. H. (2001). The status and future of the Turing test. Mind and Machines, 11, 73-93. doi:10.1023/A:1011218925467
[14] Moor, J. H. (2003) The Turing test. The elusive standard of artificial intelligence. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
[15] Luger, G. F. (2005). Artificial intelligence: Structures and strategies for complex problem solving (5th ed.). Boston: Addison-Wesley.
[16] Penco, C. (2010). Essentially incomplete descriptions. European Journal for Analytic Philosophy, 6, 47-66.
[17] Penco, C., & Vignolo, M. (2005). Converging towards what? Pragmatic and semantic competence. In P. Bouquet, & L. Serafini (Eds.), Context representation and reasoning (Vol. 136). CEUR-WS. http://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/Publications/CEUR-WS/Vol-136/
[18] Perry, J. (1997). Indexicals and demonstratives. In R. Hale, & C. Wright (Eds.), Companion to the philosophy of language (pp. 586-612). Oxford: Blackwell.
[19] Rajaraman, V. (1997). Turing test and after. Resonance, 2, 50-59. doi:10.1007/BF02835001
[20] Recanati, F. (2007). Perspectival thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230532.001.0001
[21] Recanati, F. (2010). Truth conditional pragmatics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226993.001.0001
[22] Saygin, A. P., Cicekli, I., & Akman, V. (2000). Turing test: 50 years later. Mind and Machines, 10, 463-518. doi:10.1023/A:1011288000451
[23] Searle, J. (1980). Minds, brains and programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 417-457. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00005756
[24] Schweizer, P. (1998). The truly total Turing test. Mind and Machines, 8, 263-272. doi:10.1023/A:1008229619541
[25] Stanley, J. (2005). Language in context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[26] Turing, A. M. (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 1950.
[27] Turing, A. M. (1951). Can digital computers think. BBC 3rd programme. In B. J. Copeland (Ed.), The essential Turing, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. http://www.turingarchive.org/browse.php/B/5
[28] Wilks, Y. (1986). Default reasoning and self-knowledge. Proceedings of the IEEE, 74, 1399-1404. doi:10.1109/PROC.1986.13640
[29] Wittgenstein, L. (1953). The philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.
[30] Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The blue and brown books. Oxford: Blackwell.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.