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Theory of Knowing Machines: Revisiting Gödel and the Mechanistic Thesis

Abstract : Church-Turing Thesis, mechanistic project, and Gödelian Arguments offer different perspectives of informal intuitions behind the relationship existing between the notion of intuitively provable and the definition of decidability by some Turing machine. One of the most formal lines of research in this setting is represented by the theory of knowing machines, based on an extension of Peano Arithmetic, encompassing an epistemic notion of knowledge formalized through a modal operator denoting intuitive provability. In this framework, variants of the Church-Turing Thesis can be constructed and interpreted to characterize the knowledge that can be acquired by machines. In this paper, we survey such a theory of knowing machines and extend some recent results proving that a machine can know its own code exactly but cannot know its own correctness (despite actually being sound). In particular, we define a machine that, for (at least) a specific case, knows its own code and knows to be sound.
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Alessandro Aldini, Vincenzo Fano, Pierluigi Graziani. Theory of Knowing Machines: Revisiting Gödel and the Mechanistic Thesis. 3rd International Conference on History and Philosophy of Computing (HaPoC), Oct 2015, Pisa, Italy. pp.57-70, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-47286-7_4⟩. ⟨hal-01615307⟩

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