[Wittrs] Re: Further Thoughts on Dennett, Searle and the Conundrum of Dualism

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2010 14:26:23 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:

> --- On Sat, 3/27/10, SWM <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> >> The man becomes, in effect, a conscious computer. Now
> >> we want to know if he can get semantics from syntax.
> >
> > Right as a computer performing rote processes he has no
> > understanding of what he is outputting.
> Your theory fails to explain how he understands the stories in English while 
> performing *exactly* the same rote processes in English.

His understanding English and any information conveyed in English is not a 
matter of performance of "exactly the same rote processes".

Think of my example of the sign on the road in South Carolina. If it were in 
Chinese I would have undertood nothing. But it was English and so I understood 
the symbols enough to make the sounds (if only mentally) and recognize them as 
words meaning something. The problem was that I initially grasped the wrong 
meaning. My misunderstanding happened in concert with an array of mental images 
and then, when I realized they didn't fit the context in which I was in (made 
no sense), I reset the images and with that understanding occurred. Nothing 
rote about that except at whatever deep level my brain processes were operating 
to kick up all these associations for me. Whatever brain processes were going 
on didn't understand. I understood because of those brain processes.

> If your theory made any sense then we should not expect him to understand the 
> stories in English. After all he exists only as a cog in the machinery of a 
> larger system.
> -gts

His understanding, except insofar as it's needed to follow the instructions he 
is given, is outside the system even if he's inside the room. He is only acting 
as a mechanical device.


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