I get what you're saying, and I actually think most people would agree that a fly has a degree of intelligence, just not much. There is merit in your point about goals.
Before you start thinking about "minds" and "cognition", you've got to think about machinery in general.
I thought that's what I was doing. If you look at the "machinery" of intelligence, you find various cognitive faculties, AKA "mental abilities." The ability to do basic math is a cognitive faculty which is necessary for the pursuit of certa... (read more)
Why the goal criterion? Every creature might be said to be engaging in goal-directed activity without actually having said goal. Also, what if the very goal of intercepting the ball is not intelligent?
Admittedly, the "mental" aspect of "mental ability" might be difficult to apply to computers. Perhaps it would be an improvement to say intelligence is cognitive ability or facility. Mental abilities can take many forms and can be used in pursuit of many goals, but I think it is the abilities themselves which constitute intellig... (read more)
Anyone have any problems with defining intelligence as simply "mental ability"? People are intelligent in different ways, in accordance with their mental abilities, and IQ tests measure different aspects of intelligence by measuring different mental abilities.