[Wittrs] Re: Searle's CRA shows nothing

  • From: "jrstern" <jrstern@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 01:13:55 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> --- On Sun, 3/14/10, jrstern <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> > Those of us who support the systems reply, don't believe
> > CRA shows much of anything.
> Searle responds to his systems reply critics by letting the man in the room 
> internalize the rule book (the program) and all the other trappings of the 
> room. The man becomes the room/system, yet still he does not understand a 
> word of Chinese.

That is nonresponsive.

The criticism is mereological, that Searle makes a gross error in expecting to 
find system properties in a single component.

You can wrap it in fifty more layers, and that does not resolve the original 

> > Let's see if anybody knows anything about anything.
> >
> > How does my computer "attach meanings" to variables in my
> > Java programs?
> >
> > And if you would answer that it doesn't, then what the heck
> > is the point of a program, or a computer?
> Human operators attach meanings to the symbols their computers manipulate.

I'm sure that's lovely, but what is the computer doing?

Do you have any experience doing even simple programs?

There is clearly a certain (one needs to choose words here VERY carefully) 
mechanism and no other that must take place, if a computer is to "manipulate" 
things "correctly".  One bit out of place, and the thing wangs off into 
nonsense. Then the human operator can stand there all day trying to "attach 
meaning", and nothing good will come of it.  So clearly, the "human attaches 
meaning" is just handwaving.

Searle's answer to this is nothing but regress, he says the computer doesn't 
do, what the human does - without any attempt whatsoever at explanation of how. 
 It's traditional to allow such anthropocentric arguments, but they have no 
meaning in anything like modern terms.


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