David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Minds and Machines 16 (4):381-436 (2006)
A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational knowledge-representation system, the essay analyzes Keller’s belief that learning that “everything has a name” was the key to her success, enabling her to “partition” her mental concepts into mental representations of: words, objects, and the naming relations between them. It next looks at Herbert Terrace’s theory of naming, which is akin to Keller’s, and which only humans are supposed to be capable of. The essay suggests that computers at least, and perhaps non-human primates, are also capable of this kind of naming.
|Keywords||Animal communication Chinese Room Argument Helen Keller Herbert Terrace Knowledge representation Names Natural-language understanding SNePS Syntactic semantics|
|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
Edwin B. Allaire (1965). Another Look at Bare Particulars. Philosophical Studies 16 (1-2):16 - 21.
Edwin B. Allaire (1963). Bare Particulars. Philosophical Studies 14 (1-2):1 - 8.
Michael L. Anderson (2003). Embodied Cognition: A Field Guide. Artificial Intelligence 149 (1):91-130.
Robert Baker (1967). Particulars: Bare, Naked, and Nude. Noûs 1 (2):211-212.
V. C. Chappell (1964). Particulars Re-Clothed. Philosophical Studies 15 (4):60 - 64.
Citations of this work BETA
Paul Schweizer (2012). The Externalist Foundations of a Truly Total Turing Test. Minds and Machines 22 (3):191-212.
Similar books and articles
P. X. Monaghan (2010). A Novel Interpretation of Plato's Theory of Forms. Metaphysica 11 (1):63-78.
H. E. Baber (1987). How Bad Is Rape? Hypatia 2 (2):125 - 138.
J. L. Schellenberg (2005). The Hiddenness Argument Revisited (II). Religious Studies 41 (3):287 - 303.
William Rapaport (2011). Yes, She Was! Minds and Machines 21 (1):3-17.
Jason Ford (2011). Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room. Minds and Machines 21 (1):57-72.
William Rapaport (2011). Yes, She Was! Reply to Ford’s “Helen KellerWas Never in a Chinese Room”. Minds and Machines 21 (1):3-17.
William J. Rapaport (2006). How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape From a Chinese Room. Minds and Machines 16 (4):381-436.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads52 ( #48,163 of 1,700,354 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #128,702 of 1,700,354 )
How can I increase my downloads?