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

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 06:51:49 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Mon, 3/15/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Searle makes much of the claim that consciousness must
> depend on the biological uniqueness of brains in that
> article you cited, Gordon, but he provides no reason to
> assume that there is something that brains have about them
> that computers lack except for his argument that
> computational processes running on computers ("programs")
> just can't cause consciousness, though THAT assertion
> finally hinges on nothing more than the claim that we know
> they can't because, looking inside the CR, there is no
> consciousness evident!

What ever do you mean by "looking inside the CR, there is no consciousness 

When I look inside the CR, I see an intelligent, conscious and educated 
Englishman. It just so happens that he has no understanding of Chinese and so 
he cannot understand the meanings of the Chinese symbols.

The man in the room has everything you want to ascribe to computers 
(consciousness, education and intelligence -- whatever we may mean by those 
words) and yet EVEN SO he cannot come to understand Chinese symbols from 
manipulating them in the same way that computers do.

It does not matter whether our man in the room represents the program (as in 
the original CRA) or the room as a whole (as in Searle's reply to his "systems" 
critics): the CRA illustrates Searle's third axiom that nobody and nothing, no 
matter whether man or machine, no matter whether smart or dumb, no matter 
whether conscious or unconscious, can get semantics from syntax. 

Now you want to say the room is underspecked. Okay. Let us then consider the 
room as a Cray computer. Explain why and how adding even more and even better 
hardware would somehow disprove the fundamental axiom that 'syntax by itself is 
neither constitutive of nor sufficient for semantics'. 



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