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

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2010 02:29:14 -0000

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

> The experiment itself plainly concerns syntax and semantics, Stuart.

> We put a conscious man in a room and give him a formal syntactical program 
> for conversing in Chinese. He implements it as would a computer. Nobody 
> expects the program to give the man consciousness, because the man has 
> consciousness going into the room!

The issue is whether a computer can be conscious. The man is already. But his 
consciousness is irrelevant to what the machine can do since all he is doing is 
what a simple Turing Machine mechanism would do and we know that can be 
accomplished mindlessly (except for the set up that goes into it).

> 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. The System Reply argues that the man, being just a proxy for 
a mindless cog in the machine, wouldn't necessarily have to know what is going 
on for the system to. The trick in the argument, however, is that it is 
premised on an underspecked system. It is so premised because Searle assumes 
that understanding is a basic quality which will show up in the system if the 
processes underway have the capacity to be conscious.

which case the configuration, the organization or arrangement of the processes 
is what matter, not the presence of understanding IN any of the constituent 

> We see that he cannot get semantics from syntax even despite having 
> consciousness. He can understand the stories from implementing the English 
> version of the program, but not so from implementing the Chinese version.

Right, he's just a cog, not the system itself. (In Searle's way off the mark 
reply, he's just the hardware, not the system either!)

> Looks to me like Dennett could not refute the simple logic so he misconstrued 
> Searle and made the CRA into something other than what Searle intended. Glad 
> to see that Searle called him on it.
> -gts

Looks to me like you haven't grasped Dennett's point as of now. What Searle 
"called him on" is absurd as the writer of that site you referred us to and 
Hauser, whom he apparently quotes, point out.

Did you read their critique of Searle's calling Dennett on it or just did you 
just leap at the quote, as if it resolved all the problems?


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