[Wittrs] Re: Searle's CRA and its Implications

  • From: "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 18:20:06 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> Searle's CRA is well known, of course, though he has presented it
> over the years in multiple and often varying iterations. In generic
> terms, however, it goes like this:

> 1) Minds (consciousness) have (has) semantics.

> 2) Computers consist exclusively of syntax.

> 3) Syntax does not constitute and is not sufficient for semantics.

> 4) Therefore computers cannot have minds (be conscious)

Okay, that's a pretty good summary of Searle's expressed view.

> My response to the CRA is that, while #1 and #2 are unassailable if
> we agree to accept the meanings of the terms as Searle presents them
> (which we can for argument's sake), he is certainly mistaken on #3
> because the CR does not demonstrate that as he claims.

Wait just a moment.  You cannot do that.

That Searle's Chinese Room argument fails to prove #3 only shows that
#3 is unproved.  It does not show that #3 is "certainly mistaken".

If we take #3 as a hypothesis, then many people consider that
hypothesis to be highly plausible.  As far as I know, there has  not yet
been any refutation of #3.  So it seems to me that you are  overstating
your case.  The most you can say is that Searle does  not actually
establish #3, and therefore does not actually prove #4.

> If the processes going on in brains are enough to produce
> consciousness, why should such processes in computers not be (at
> least, in principle)?

Perhaps the processes in computers are not the "right" kind of

> Either way he is stuck in a dualist mode of thinking because he is
> saying either that:

> 1) Brains cause something ontologically separate (dualism) from
> themselves; or

Automobiles are made of atoms.  Automobiles cause motion and motion  is
not made of atoms.

Is belief in automobiles dualistic?


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