Alan Turing and the “hard” and “easy” problem of cognition: doing and feeling

Harnad, Stevan (2012) Alan Turing and the “hard” and “easy” problem of cognition: doing and feeling [in special issue: Turing Year 2012] Turing100: Essays in Honour of Centenary Turing Year 2012, Summer Issue


[img] PDF harnad-huma-turingessay.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (82kB)
[img] Rich Text (RTF) harnad-huma-turingessay.rtf - Other
Download (75kB)


The "easy" problem of cognitive science is explaining how and why we can do what we can do. The "hard" problem is explaining how and why we feel. Turing's methodology for cognitive science (the Turing Test) is based on doing: Design a model that can do anything a human can do, indistinguishably from a human, to a human, and you have explained cognition. Searle has shown that the successful model cannot be solely computational. Sensory-motor robotic capacities are necessary to ground some, at least, of the model's words, in what the robot can do with the things in the world that the words are about. But even grounding is not enough to guarantee that -- nor to explain how and why -- the model feels (if it does). That problem is much harder to solve (and perhaps insoluble).

Item Type: Article
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 340293
Date :
Date Event
14 June 2012Published
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2012 11:29
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:57
Further Information:Google Scholar

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item