[Wittrs] Re: Ontologically Basic Ambiguity: Mode of Existence

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 17:59:39 -0000

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

> It seems you keep forgetting that the man in the room has everything that
> anyone could ever hope for computers to have, yet still he cannot get
> semantics from syntax.

But the point is to show what a computer can do, so what the man has is 
irrelevant. His job in the room is to pretend to be a mindless CPU and go 
through certain rotes steps like a CPU would. What he understands is irrelevant 
except with regard to his ability to follow the rote steps (which we all agree 
even a computer can do).

He can be daydreaming, thinking about the chocolate ice cream cone he just ate, 
or he can even be trying to decipher the squiggly lines. As long as none of 
this interferes with the process steps he is performing (as they wouldn't 
interfere with the computer performing them), he is doing what's required to 
make the CR do its work.

> In Searle's reply to his systems critics, the man internalizes the program
> and BECOMES a complex system... nay even better than that... he becomes a
> complex system WITH CONSCIOUSNESS AND INTELLIGENCE, yet still he cannot, by
> virtue of implementing a program, understand what the symbols mean.
> -gts

Yes, I've seen that reply. It says nothing about the system itself, just the 
man. So now you have the system inside the man where before the man was inside 
the system. But if the issue is what is the system, itself, capable of, the 
man's understanding remains irrelevant because HE isn't THE SYSTEM in either 

When he's inside he's just a component of the system. When it's inside him he's 
all the machinery (the hardware, as it were). But he's never the system.

More important is to look at the points I've made about what is implicit in the 
CR and in Searle's CRA and to understand what it means to be a system property 
rather than a process property. That's the real reason why Searle's response to 
the System Reply is beside the point.


Need Something? Check here: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/

Other related posts: