Searle: Minds, Brains & Programs

From: Baden, Denise (
Date: Tue Dec 12 1995 - 13:48:05 GMT

From: "Parker, Chris" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 08:17:33 +0000

>Thus strong AI fails to
>distinguish between syntax and semantics. [I am
>unhappy with this, it seems to me that computers could
>have as much semantic information as we have. Anything
>we know about Chinese, they could know too. The
>difference between us and machines just appears to be
>that machines haven't been programmed to experience
>understanding, and if they have, then they haven't
>been programmed (or rather built) to say that they
>understand. Searle seems to have a homonculus that
>understands, but what is the understanding experience?
>Surely it can only be an experience of the fit of
>input with memory.]

No it has to be more than that, because human beings have instincts,
emotions, preferences etc i.e things matter. What matters to a

>". All mental
>phenomena are caused by processes in the brain and all
>causal processes are internal to the brain even though
>"mental events mediate between external stimuli and
>motor responses there is no essential connection".
>Mental phenomena, like pain, are features of the
>brain. [This seems a bit extreme, I would have thought
>that most behaviour is a result of a mixture of
>ongoing mental processes and mental processes arising
>directly out of external stimuli."

Actually several aspects of behaviour are capable of occurring without
CNS influence at all, e.g. the withdrawal reflex and the flexor reflex
are mediated at the level of the lower spinal cord. Apparantly, with
some animals that have had their brains removed, there is little
observable difference in behaviour, eg frogs will still swim and leap

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