The Failures of Computationalism

Http (2001)
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Abstract

Harnad and I agree that the Chinese Room Argument deals a knockout blow to Strong AI, but beyond that point we do not agree on much at all. So let's begin by pondering the implications of the Chinese Room. The Chinese Room shows that a system, me for example, could pass the Turing Test for understanding Chinese, for example, and could implement any program you like and still not understand a word of Chinese. Now, why? What does the genuine Chinese speaker have that I in the Chinese Room do not have? The answer is obvious. I, in the Chinese room, am manipulating a bunch of formal symbols; but the Chinese speaker has more than symbols, he knows what they mean. That is, in addition to the syntax of Chinese, the genuine Chinese speaker has a semantics in the form of meaning, understanding, and mental contents generally

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John R. Searle
University of California, Berkeley

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