[Wittrs] Re: I Experience in Ordinary Language

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2010 00:22:51 -0000

I just got a new computer which is supposed to be much faster though not, of 
course, as fast as a parallel processor so I thought I'd try it out and lo and 
behold, the first post I see that's new here is from Budd! I will respond, 
though, because I want to test how fast and reliable this machine is. (My son 
built it so I want to be sure it lives up to the specs he promised!)

Nevertheless, I'm not inclined to go through the same Software/Hardware 
business and the claim that computer programs qua processes running on machines 
lack causal power while processes running on brains don't! I think that some of 
what Searle asserts in this regard does reflect this kind of thinking and does 
lead to some of the confusions I think we find in Budd's claims about this 

But I've already made my points with regard to those issues many times already 
so why do it yet again? Instead let me suggest that Budd link to the following 
post which I put up a while back in response to Joe's claim that he could find 
no evidence in Dennett that he considered Searle's CRA to be driven by 
Cartesian dualism. In the relevant text, which will be found at the second link 
below, Budd and others will find Dennett's comments on the subject. Although I 
think Dennett is far more wordy than he needed to be in his critique (which is 
why I had to skip a lengthy middle exposition in my excerpt), the case he makes 
re: the problem with the CRA strikes me as pretty compelling. In the end, it 
boils down to the same underspecking problem I have been describing here.



> 3. [your claim that Dennett accuses Searle of latent substance dualism]:
> I've looked in Consciousness Explained and found Dennett's critique of
> the Chinese Room Argument. his critique is severe; but, I will to others
> to judge its success. my point is that Dennett's conclusion is just that
> Searle is wrong to reject Strong AI on the basis of the CRA.
> I did not find any passage in which Dennett concluded that Searle was
> wrong about Strong AI; and, therefore Searle is a latent dualist whether
> Cartesian-style or otherwise.

My response:

If I find the time I'll go back and look. Perhaps I misrecalled where I have 
seen it. Nevertheless, I assure you if you look you will see that Dennett beat 
me to this particular punch. But as I also said, it wouldn't matter if no one 
else had ever said it. My point needs to be addressed on its merits not on its 


> would you kindly back up your claim by quoting the passage(s) in which,
> according to you, Dennett makes such an allegation?


If I have the time I will ferret out some text for you. Note that I did not say 
he makes an explicit allegation of "substance dualism". (I know you like to 
stick with formalities!) I said he addresses the issue in the appendix and by 
that I meant that it is the crux of his argument against Searle.


An excerpt from the relevant text:

Critiquing the CRA in Consciousness Explained, Dennett writes, "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 . . ."

A fuller excerpt is provided here:



--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "gabuddabout" <wittrsamr@...> wrote:


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