Re: Searle's Chinese Room Argument

From: Cherry, Sandra (
Date: Tue Feb 18 1997 - 09:39:51 GMT

This is what I have understood from my readings. Searle implies that a
programe for computing Chinese is made up of symbols, which do not have
any meaning. Hence this was how he himself is able to communicate in
Chinese, with no knowledge of this language.

Harnad replied using the Symbol Grounding Problem. "Symbols have to be
connected to the real world" to give us meanings, in order for anyone
to understand them. Using his example of a horse & stripes = zebra,
hence, these symbols mean something specific. I.E a zebra can be
thought of as a horse with stripes, often what my young children called
them. Yes I am all for these kid sib explanations! Harnad also suggests
using a Hybrid model, combining symbolic and neural net techniques in
order to compute.

Thus, Searle implies that symbols can be used as he does not require
understanding, whereas, Harnad would rather use the Hybrid model.

Have I got this right, please reply in kid sib, technical jargon is no
good for me!! Sandra

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