Here's "Complete argument" from Wikipedia:
(A1) "Programs are formal (syntactic)." A program uses syntax to manipulate symbols and pays no attention to the semantics of the symbols. It knows where to put the symbols and how to move them around, but it doesn't know what they stand for or what they mean. For the program, the symbols are just physical objects like any others.
(A2) "Minds have mental contents (semantics)." Unlike the symbols used by a program, our thoughts have meaning: they represent things and we know what it is they represent.
(A3) "Syntax by itself is neither constitutive of nor sufficient for semantics." This is what the Chinese room thought experiment is intended to prove: the Chinese room has syntax (because there is a man in there moving symbols around). The Chinese room has no semantics (because, according to Searle, there is no one or nothing in the room that understands what the symbols mean). Therefore, having syntax is not enough to generate semantics. Searle posits that these lead directly to this conclusion:
(C1) Programs are neither constitutive of nor sufficient for minds. This should follow without controversy from the first three: Programs don't have semantics. Programs have only syntax, and syntax is insufficient for semantics. Every mind has semantics. Therefore no programs are minds.
Substituting programs with human bodies and symbols with fundamental particles doesn't seem to change the argument. Therefore no humans have minds.
If you find it too extreme, let's recall what Chinese Room Argument does:
- Here's a room that impersonates itself as a Chinese fluent speaker.
- The room consists of parts (A, B, C, D, E, ...), one of which is capable of repeated conditional actions.
- Look at the part A. It doesn't (even try to) understand Chinese.
- Repeat for all the remaining parts and conclude that there's no understanding happening.
My question is why not apply the same for the actual Chinese human speaker? Imagine the human dissected into small enough parts and then notice that none of the pieces understands anything — mindless electro-chemical reactions only.
Does Wikipedia misrepresent what Searle actually mean? I gather that Searle's stance is that human-like mind requires some uncomputable process, but I don't understand how it follows from his argument.
Thanks for the comments, but I feel that I wasn't clear enough that I'm not going to argue around the topic. What I'm looking for is a definitive reference that shows what Searle has publicly said or written about applying the argument to humans.
The reason is I read that Searle rejects virtual world -style explanations, which only makes sense if you require uncomputable mind. The argument for uncomputable mind must somehow follow from Searle's arguments, but from what I read I can't see how to come to the same conclusion (unless you implicitly include the conclusion into premises, as @causative said).