How to pass a Turing test: Syntactic semantics, natural-language understanding, and first-person cognition

I advocate a theory of syntactic semantics as a way of understanding how computers can think (and how the Chinese-Room-Argument objection to the Turing Test can be overcome): (1) Semantics, considered as the study of relations between symbols and meanings, can be turned into syntax – a study of relations among symbols (including meanings) – and hence syntax (i.e., symbol manipulation) can suffice for the semantical enterprise (contra Searle). (2) Semantics, considered as the process of understanding one domain (by modeling it) in terms of another, can be viewed recursively: The base case of semantic understanding –understanding a domain in terms of itself – is syntactic understanding. (3) An internal (or narrow ), first-person point of view makes an external (or wide ), third-person point of view otiose for purposes of understanding cognition.
Keywords Chinese Room  Internalism  Logic  Representation  Semantics  Syntax  Turing Test
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008319409770
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William Rapaport (2011). Yes, She Was! Minds and Machines 21 (1):3-17.

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