David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Unifying traditional cognitive science is the idea that thinking is a process of symbol manipulation, where symbols lead both a syntactic and a semantic life. The syntax of a symbol comprises those properties in virtue of which the symbol undergoes rule-dictated transformations. The semantics of a symbol constitute the symbolsÕ meaning or representational content. Thought consists in the syntactically determined manipulation of symbols, but in a way that respects their semantics. Thus, for instance, a calculating computer sensitive only to the shape of symbols might produce the symbol Ô5Õ in response to the inputs Ô2Õ, Ô+Õ, and Ô3Õ. As far as the computer is concerned, these symbols have no meaning, but because of its program it will produce outputs that, to the user, Òmake senseÓ given the meanings the user attributes to the symbols.
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