[Wittrs] Dualism Cooties: Dennett Accuses Searle

  • From: Joseph Polanik <jpolanik@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2010 07:05:10 -0500

SWM wrote:

>Joseph Polanik wrote:

>>in _Consciousness Explained_ Dennet does not accuse Searle of having
>>dualism cooties. Dennett just claims that Searle was wrong to deny
>>that the Chinese Room lacked understanding. you might repost the
>>material you say I overlooked or help me find it by providing a link,
>>a message # or the posting date

>I posted it nearby in another post responding to Budd.

thank you. I've found your post from 2010-01-31 in which you quote some
material including the next paragraph and then provide a parenthetical

Dennett: "Here is how the misdirection occurs. We see clearly enough
that if there were understanding in such a giant system, it would not be
Searle's understanding (since he is just a cog in the machiery,
oblivious to the context of what he is doing). We also see clearly that
there is nothing remotely like genuine understanding in any hunk of
programming small enough to imagine readily -- whatever it is, it's just
a mindless routine for transforming symbol strings into other symbol
strings according to some mechanical or syntactical recipe. Then comes
the suppressed premise: Surely more of the same, no matter how much
more, would never add up to genuine understanding. But why should anyone
think this is true? Cartesian dualists would think so, because they
think that even human brains are unable to accomplish understanding all
by themselves . . ."

Stuart: [Recall my point that Searle's CRA hinges on an implicit case of
substance dualism.]

I stand by my previous conclusion about Dennett's case against Searle;
but, given your insistence that Dennett is implicitly accusing Searle of
substance dualism, I will admit that one could interpret Dennett's
seductive rhetoric as an invitation to perpetrate a logical fallacy.

and you fell for it, Stuart.

Dennett's premise is that if you are a Cartesian Dualist (C) then you
will deny that there is any understanding (-U) in the chinese room

C -> -U

interestingly enough, this is probably true; but, of course, that's
irrelevant to the logical validity of the argument.

there are two things you can do with a conditional statement like that

1: Deny the Consequent [valid]

[1]: C -> -U
[2]: U
[3]: -C

this is a valid move and is known as modus tollens.

Dennett denies that there is a lack of understanding (--U) in the
chinese room. this is equivalent to saying that there is understanding
(U). from this we may validly conclude that Dennett is not a Cartesian
dualist (-C)

2: Affirm the Consequent [invalid]

[1]: C -> -U
[2]: -U
[3]: C

clearly, Searle denies that there is understanding in the chinese room.
however, to conclude from this that Searle is a Cartesian or substance
dualist is fallacious (without first proving that it is logically
impossible for anyone not a Cartesian dualist to deny that there is
understanding in the chinese room).




Nothing Unreal is Self-Aware



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