Re: Searle's Chinese Room Argument

From: Dunsdon, Graham (
Date: Wed Feb 19 1997 - 11:42:23 GMT

On Tue, 18 Feb 1997 09:39:51 GMT Sandra Cherry wrote:
> Subject: Searle's Chinese Room Argument
> 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.

Sandra, symbols do have meaning I believe. However, there is no
intrinsic way of recognising similarities of objects like a horse and a
zebra except with yet more symbol(s). We would need a different symbol
for each 'new'description. So, Stevan suggests (in his grounding
theory) that the mind uses base groups (or functions) which are known by
their invariant properties of description (eg., those which would apply
to a horse, to a zebra or to a donkey etc); to which can be hung
perceptual variants such as piebald or stripes or big ears; which
enable the identification of different, but functionally similar
objects using cognitively constructed links. Thus the visual system has
been provided with a direct linkage with the symbol system even where a
"new' object has been seen for the very first time by that person.
(That's how I explain it to myself!) Dunsdon, Graham.

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