Understanding Large Language Models through the Lens of Artificial Agency


  • Maud van Lier




This paper is motivated by Floridi’s recent claim that Large Language Models like ChatGPT can be seen as ‘intelligence-free’ agents. Where I do not agree with Floridi that such systems are intelligence-free, my paper does question whether they can be called agents, and if so, what kind. I argue for the adoption of a more restricted understanding of agent in AI-research, one that comes closer in its meaning to how the term is used in the philosophies of mind, action, and agency. I propose such a more narrowing understanding of agent, suggesting that an agent can be seen as entity or system that things can be ‘up to’, that can act autonomously in a way that is best understood on the basis of Husserl’s notion of indeterminate determinability.