The chinese room argument reconsidered: Essentialism, indeterminacy, and strong AI [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 13 (2):285-319 (2003)
  I argue that John Searle's (1980) influential Chinese room argument (CRA) against computationalism and strong AI survives existing objections, including Block's (1998) internalized systems reply, Fodor's (1991b) deviant causal chain reply, and Hauser's (1997) unconscious content reply. However, a new ``essentialist'' reply I construct shows that the CRA as presented by Searle is an unsound argument that relies on a question-begging appeal to intuition. My diagnosis of the CRA relies on an interpretation of computationalism as a scientific theory about the essential nature of intentional content; such theories often yield non-intuitive results in non-standard cases, and so cannot be judged by such intuitions. However, I further argue that the CRA can be transformed into a potentially valid argument against computationalism simply by reinterpreting it as an indeterminacy argument that shows that computationalism cannot explain the ordinary distinction between semantic content and sheer syntactic manipulation, and thus cannot be an adequate account of content. This conclusion admittedly rests on the arguable but plausible assumption that thought content is interestingly determinate. I conclude that the viability of computationalism and strong AI depends on their addressing the indeterminacy objection, but that it is currently unclear how this objection can be successfully addressed
Keywords Artificial Intelligence  Block  Chinese Room  Essentialism  Indeterminacy  Metaphysics  Mind  Fodor, J  Hauser, L  Searle, J
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1022947527614
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,189
External links
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

125 ( #34,191 of 1,940,952 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #149,628 of 1,940,952 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.