[Wittrs] Re: What the Man in the Room Knows (and when does he know it?)

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 06:51:35 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Tue, 3/23/10, SWM <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> You claim, on the other hand, that the man's
> understanding is key because, as you have put it, try as he
> might he doesn't understand Chinese (so, presumably, if he
> weren't trying, then the thought experiment wouldn't
> work?).
> I, on the other hand, have said that his trying to
> understand Chinese is not the point of the CR. 

I must say this amounts to the most ridiculous line of argument against the CRA 
that I've yet seen.

The entire idea of the thought experiment is for you, dear reader, to imagine 
yourself implementing a formal program for understanding Chinese. You must 
imagine yourself in that situation, and then look within yourself and ask 
yourself honestly: "Self, do I understand Chinese by virtue of manipulating 
these symbols according to these syntactic rules?" 

Do you have a desire to understand the symbols? Of course you do! Presumably 
you want to prove strong AI = true!

If I take your argument seriously, Stuart (that the man does not try to 
understand the symbols) then I must suppose that your argument against the CRA 
amounts to saying that the man cannot understand the symbols simply because 
that lazy bum fell asleep at the wheel during the thought experiment. 



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