(urth) 5HC : Chinese boxes or tea chests?

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes danldo at gmail.com
Tue Feb 1 11:43:20 PST 2005

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 15:47:12 +0000 (GMT), Jim Raylor
<rjraylor at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Searle's argument was that the guy in the room who
> manipulated the symbols had no real knowledge of the
> Chinese language, just the rules for manipulating the
> symbols.

This is a significant point, because the neurons in my brain 
have no real knowledge of the English language,  just  the 
rules for manipulating the symbols. Thus, the neurons do 
not "know English." But _I_  appear to.

Similarly, the man in the Chinese Room does not Chinese, 
but the system-as-a-whole appears to.  To say "The Room 
does not know Chinese," Searle must, _at a minimum_,

1. Define what it means to "know Chinese,"
2. Propose an empirical test for the definition proposed
    in #1, and
3. Demonstrate (from hypothesis, since no such Room
    exists) that the Room does not fit the definition 
    proposed in #1.

Searle has not, to the best of my knowledge, proposed 
either a definition of "knowing Chinese" or an empirical 
test for determining whether the Room actually knows 
Chinese. He has instead relied on his readers' paralogical 
emotional response to assure us that it does not. But that 
does not mean that it does not.

> I seem to recall a program which regularly fooled
> people into thinking it was a client-centred
> psychotherapist.

That would be "Eliza." It didn't really fool very many
people or for very long.


"We're going to sit on Scorsese's head"
     -- The Goodfeathers

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