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

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 14:50:21 -0800 (PST)

--- On Fri, 3/12/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Premise #3 is, of course, the tricky one. It purports to
> show (in, as Searle has put it, a self-evident manner) that
> the constituents in the CR are not conscious and cannot
> conceivably be conscious.

Actually it purports to show exactly what it purports to show: that syntax by 
itself does not give semantics. 

The thought experiment shows the truth of the premise: the man in the room 
follows rules of syntax that tell him to output, for example, "squiggle" in 
response to "squoogle". He cannot from following such syntactical rules come to 
know the meanings of squiggles and squoogles.

This axiom stands on its own distinct from any considerations about 
consciousness. No matter whether computers have consciousness or not, neither 
they nor us can glean semantics from syntax.



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