Re: Searle's Chinese Room Argument

From: Terry, Mark (
Date: Tue Mar 14 2000 - 17:07:03 GMT

> > > McCARTHY:
> > > Machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have beliefs, and
> > > having beliefs seems to be a characteristic of most machines capable of
> > > problem solving performance.
> >
> > Blakemore:
> > I agree with Searle that this is a silly remark. We should only consider
> > a machine to have intelligence when it passes at least T2 (perhaps it
> > should be higher).
> Harnad:
> Note, though, that the "silly remark" is made by John McCarthy, the
> father of AI!

Isn't the point of McCarthy's remark that if the computationalist view
holds, beliefs are represented as computational states, then a
thermostat has beliefs because it has different states (e.g. on and
off). With this strict reasoning, the question of "where is the other
mind?" in the chinese room argument is irrelevant - there is just a
symbol system, states & algorithms. This is the exact same thing that
is going on in Searle's mind.

By implementing the program, he is implementing two symbol systems
(what we have termed his mind, and what by the same logic is the mind
of the chinese pen pal program). The concept, of a mind being present
as something we can identify other than a system doing computation,
instantly goes against the fundamental point of the computationalist
view, so the task to locate this concept we have called a 'mind' (lets
face it, who wants to believe they are just squiggles and squagles) is
itself futile - McCarthy's view is that this symbol system IS ALL A

Terry, Mark <>

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