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

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes danldo at gmail.com
Wed Feb 2 09:39:15 PST 2005

Just as a side note:

Differentiate between behaviorism[1] and behaviorism[2]. (Sorry, my 
email doesn't do subscripts.)

Behaviorism[1] refers to the epistemological position that, since we
do not have access to the content of the consciousness of a subject
of study (even if the subject describes the content of her consciousness,
we have to allow for inaccuracy, lies, etc.), the only aspect of the
subject we can actually study is her behavior (including statements
about the content of her consciousness, etc.).

Behviorism[2] refers to the ontological position that no such thing 
as "consciousness" exists.

Behaviorism[1] seems to-me a legitimate and scientific position.

Behaviorism[2] seems to-me to have been concocted as a parody
of behaviorism[1].

However, some extreme behaviorists[1] often act and speak as if
they actually believed in behaviorism[2].

The point of all this? Turing's test works in the scientific realm
of behaviorism[1], not the essentially religous (because 
incapable of empirical test) realm of behaviorism[2].

Searle's Chinese Room gedankenexperiment works in the
space between behaviorism[1] and behaviorism[2].

What I mean by this:

Turing proposes an open test and says, "If we obtained
a certain type of results, the most resaonable conclusion
would be that the machine in question was conscious." 
He leaves the question open of whether the conclusion 
would actually be true, or whether such a result might 
actually occur.

Searle proposes a much more limited test and says, "No 
matter what the results, we must conclude that the Room 
does not 'know Chinese,' because we know _a priori_ that 
it does not."


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

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