Re: Symbol Grounding Problem

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Tue May 21 1996 - 18:56:04 BST

> From: Newton, Claire <>
> Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 16:44:11 GMT
> What is the symbol grounding problem?
> When a person uses symbols they understand what they stand
> for, ie they interpret them. However if another person, eg,
> a japanese person looking at english for the first time,
> will not understand these symbols as they do not know what
> they stand for. The symbols by themselves are meaningless
> without a mind to interpret them and give them meaning.
> In the case of the japanese person, an english speaking
> person may tell the japanese person what the word sounds
> like and how to recognise the word by being able to put a
> sound with it, but the japanese person will still not be
> able to understand english. In order to be able to
> understand the english a there has to be a direct connection
> between the symbols and what the meaning is. ie instead of
> saying "apple", to understand the word, an apple must be
> shown in order to make the connection between the word apple
> and the image of an apple.

Unfortunately, this does not answer the question correctly.
Please see the reply on this same subject to Aaste Herheim.

See also:

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