David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):207 – 215 (1988)
John Searle has argued that one can imagine embodying a machine running any computer program without understanding the symbols, and hence that purely computational processes do not yield understanding. The disagreement this argument has generated stems, I hold, from ambiguity in talk of 'understanding'. The concept is analysed as a relation between subjects and symbols having two components: a formal and an intentional. The central question, then becomes whether a machine could possess the intentional component with or without the formal component. I argue that the intentional state of a symbol's being meaningful to a subject is a functionally definable relation between the symbol and certain past and present states of the subject, and that a machine could bear this relation to a symbol. I sketch a machine which could be said to possess, in primitive form, the intentional component of understanding. Even if the machine, in lacking consciousness, lacks full understanding, it contributes to a theory of understanding and constitutes a counterexample to the Chinese Room argument.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Daniel C. Dennett (1978). Brainstorms. MIT Press.
Michael Polanyi (1958). Personal Knowledge. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Natika Newton (1989). Error in Action and Belief. Philosophia 19 (4):363-401.
Similar books and articles
William J. Rapaport (2000). How to Pass a Turing Test: Syntactic Semantics, Natural-Language Understanding, and First-Person Cognition. Journal of Logic, Language, and Information 9 (4):467-490.
William J. Rapaport (1986). Searle's Experiments with Thought. Philosophy of Science 53 (June):271-9.
Simone Gozzano (1997). The Chinese Room Argument: Consciousness and Understanding. In Matjaz Gams, M. Paprzycki & X. Wu (eds.), Mind Versus Computer: Were Dreyfus and Winograd Right? Amsterdam: IOS Press. 43--231.
Peter Kugel (2004). The Chinese Room is a Trick. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (1):153-154.
Natika Newton (1989). Machine Understanding and the Chinese Room. Philosophical Psychology 2 (2):207-15.
Added to index2009-03-08
Total downloads12 ( #145,286 of 1,410,540 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #178,988 of 1,410,540 )
How can I increase my downloads?