Questions tagged [john-searle]

For questions about the work of John Searle (1932-), an american philosopher working in the analytic tradition.

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Is abstraction always mind-dependent?

Else said, are there any physical mind-independent objects which are abstractions of other ones? I’m using mind-independent and mind-dependent like Searle. Things like syntax, language, and ...
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2 answers
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Is anything wrong with this argument about the Turing test?

I seem to be having a bit of difficulty explaining what seems to me to be an important failure of the Turing test as performed. A failure that means that to date, no performance has yielded any ...
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What does Searle mean by "intentionality" and "causal processes"?

I am struggling to understand the meaning of some of the terminology John Searle uses in "Mind, brains, and programs." For example, right before "IV. The combination reply," he ...
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Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

relatively new to philosophy. This question is based on John Searle's Chinese Room Argument. I find it odd that his main argument for why programs could not think was that because programs could only ...
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Is a physical process identical to an algorithm computing it?

I have read three questions about algorithms and their relation to the human brain. Two recent ones: Question on Godel's Remark on Algorithmic Nature of Mind and: Why doesn't Searle's ...
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2 answers
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Why doesn't Searle's argument apply against humans?

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 ...
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2 answers
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Is AI in a Crisis of Science?

According to Thomas S. Kuhn in his classic work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: ...'normal science' presupposes a conceptual and instrumental framework or paradigm accepted by an entire ...
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Is Searle mislabeling his position on perception as "direct realism" when it's really intentionalism? Or are there non-realist intentionalists?

Having given Searle's 2015 book (Seeing things as the are) a quick read, to me he seems like he's really (mostly) espousing intentionalism but he calls his position "direct realism". He ...
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What's the current status of Searle's Chinese Room argument?

The purpose of my question is not to start an endless discussion on Searle's thought experiment, but just to ask if the argument still stands or if at some point in time it was effectively shown to be ...
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On Searle's _Proper Names_ (1958)

I just read Searle's article Proper Names (1958) which was published before Kripke's seminal take on the subject in Naming and Necessity (1980). I think it is a very lucid article but I have a ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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What's the difference between the necessary and sufficient conditions for an illocutionary act, and the act's constitutive rules?

My understanding is that, according to Searle the constitutive rules are the ones that make an act possible in the first place. His analogy is that, without the corresponding constitutive rules, ...
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6 answers
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Trouble understanding how the Chinese room experiment refutes computer functionalism

I'm listening to John Searle's lectures on the philosophy of mind (https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL039MUyjHR1wfJpULVP1a1ZeCBmIHmhxt) and I don't really understand the significance of his Chinese ...
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An English room inside Searle's Chinese Room?

The Chinese room experiment has a fundamental function of giving the system/person interacting with it the illusion that the room understands chinese, but it seems flaky to me what the term ...
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Why does Searle's room receive three batches of Chinese characters and two English instruction manuals as input?

Searle's Chinese room receives input in the form of a batch of chinese characters, then twice after receives a batch of Chinese. The second batch of Chinese comes with English instructions for "...
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Why are referring and predicating distinct from illocutionary acts?

I have been reading Searle's Speech Acts and he mentioned that in the four sentences mentioned below, while they share the same reference (Sam) and predication (smoking habitually), they are four ...
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A reply to the Chinese room argument

All replies to the Chinese Room Argument (CRA) that I've seen assume the computer science concept (explanation, "definition" as Searle says) of the electronic digital computer. But what of other ...
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Does strong AI disprove physicalism?

This question is motivated by a comment to an answer I provided to another question about John Searle and the Chinese Room Argument: What relevance, if any, does collective memory in ants have to John ...
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What relevance, if any, does collective memory in ants have to John Searle's Chinese Room argument?

In his Chinese room argument, Searle dismisses the possibility that a system of separate agents can possess collective knowledge even if the individuals don't have it. Yet, it's possible that ant ...
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1 answer
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What is Searle's argument against machine functionalism?

what is searle's main argument Machine functionalism?
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3 answers
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How could a computer acquire knowledge of its environment?

I've quite often seen AI respond to John Searle's Chinese room argument by accepting the systems reply: while the man in the room doesn't understand Chinese, the room (the system) as a whole could - ...
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Where to find the “tightened up” definitions of computing mentioned by Searle?

I think it is probably possible to block the result of universal realizability by tightening up our definition of computation. Certainly we ought to respect the fact that programmers and engineers ...
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Can computers do things Turing machines can't?

Today's electronic digital computers are often referred to as universal Turing machines. That is, the concept of the UTM is used to understand today's stored-program electronic digital computers. But ...
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Why doesn't the Chinese room learn Chinese?

I just can't see how John Searle's Chinese room makes sense. The room passes the Turing test. People outside the room think there's a human inside who understands Chinese. But, Searle explains, the ...
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Doubt in Searle's Mind: A Brief Introduction

I have been reading Searle's Mind: A Brief Introduction, Oxford UP (2004). In it I came across the passage in Chapter 2: if we believe that p and if we believe that if p then q we will believe ...
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Does adding structure make the Chinese room semantic?

The Chinese room reacts just to syntax, or shape of symbols (is purely syntactic). But brains are full of structure. In the room, Chinese symbols sit scattered in "piles" on the floor or are moved ...
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Do relationships rebut the Chinese room argument?

Searle says syntax is neither sufficient for nor constitutive of semantics, all a computer gets (eg from sensors) is syntax (tokenised shapes) therefore computers will never understand the world. ...
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The Chinese room ain't no computer – but does it matter? [duplicate]

Central to Searle's Chinese room argument is his claim that the room has the semantic properties of an electronic digital computer. In a post a few days ago in a discussion about the semantics, I ...
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Does it make sense to define a computer as a symbol-manipulating device?

Searle (John Searle (1997), The Mystery of Consciousness, p9) says “A computer is by definition a device that manipulates formal symbols”. What does he mean? How do you define a piece of electronic ...
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3 answers
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Why wouldn't Searle learn Chinese in his Room given infinite time?

Humans have an amazing capacity for pattern recognition. I don't understand Searle's assertion "it seems to me quite obvious in the example that I do not understand a word of the Chinese stories.&...
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4 votes
4 answers
390 views

Why does Searle think that consciousness is "obviously" physical?

One response to Searle's Chinese room argument is that the room has a virtual mind. From Wikipedia's article on the Chinese room: "Minsky argues, a computer may contain a "mind" that is virtual in ...
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How is this premises and conclusion to refute Searle's CR experiment?

So I've been digging into this topic for days now. I've gone through his paper and also some threads here, which I found were very helpful. I came up with these premises and following conclusions in ...
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How can Searle's Chinese Room argument refute to this argument? [duplicate]

I'm a relatively new student studying philosophy and became interested in the computer models of mind. I've read John Searle's CR experiment and had a quick thought. How can CR experiment refute to ...
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What is this reply to the Chinese Room argument?

The following reply to the Chinese Room argument came to my mind recently: The whole activity of manipulating symbols described in CR is understanding in the usual sense of the word. My ...
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6 votes
2 answers
300 views

Does a philosophy of language presuppose a philosophy of mind?

Ever since the "linguistic turn", philosophers have been keenly aware of the need of analyzing certain questions about language. In retrospect, John Searle, in Expression and Meaning, notes "the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
277 views

Can there be a sufficient account of meaning without an account of intentionality?

Much has been said in recent philosophy in criticism of representationalist theories of meaning. The idea is that any representation can represent what it will only in a prior, limiting context. ...
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Can there be intentionality without consciousness?

Searle distinguishes between intrinsic intentionality of the mind... vs 'as-if' intentionality of physical objects like a computer, book, picture etc... that depend on conscious minds to exhibit ...
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9 votes
4 answers
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How does human intelligence differ from Searle's chinese room?

The Chinese Room argument attempts to prove that a computer, no matter how powerful, cannot achieve consciousness. Brief summary: Imagine a native English speaker who knows no Chinese locked in a ...
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18 votes
6 answers
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How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

There are many refutations of John Searle's Chinese Room argument against Strong AI. But they seem to be addressing the structure of the thought experiment itself, as opposed to the underlying ...
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5 votes
6 answers
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What is wrong with the following argument for dualism?

In listening to the following philosophy of mind lecture by John Searle, and he mentions in passing the following argument against materialism (starting around 43 minutes into to the lecture): ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Unconscious Mental States and the Ontological Subjectivity of Reality

Searle claims that social reality is ontologically subjective. By this, should one interpret him as meaning that our perception of reality is ontologically subjective since perception requires ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Are there philosophers who further develop ideas by Searle?

I'm reading a bit about John Searle's philosophies of mind and language at the moment. In his language lectures he keeps emphasizing that his views aren't considered mainstream. Are there any ...
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Searle on morality

Specifying my first question on Searle, I am looking for papers by Searle or others that deal with Searle's notion of moral responsibility or morality in general. I found a great deal about free will, ...
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Are there any replies to Searle's philosophy of mind but Bennett's and Hacker's?

For a term paper I am looking for specific responses to Searle's philosophy of mind (though it's hard to even call it that) as presented in Minds, Brains and Science or the paper Consciousness (2000). ...
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Emulation, simulation and the real thing

The description of the strong AI position in the wikipedia article on the Chinese room describes the blurring of the difference between a simulation and the real thing with respect to the mind: The ...
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7 votes
7 answers
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Does Searle's Chinese Room model computers correctly?

Searle invented a thought experiment, the Chinese Room, which he proposes is an argument against Strong AI (that machines think) but not against Weak AI (that machines simulate thinking), he has a man ...
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10 votes
3 answers
579 views

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle?

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle? I am an engineer who is interested in AI and the possibility of machines become able to think and the philosophy behind ...
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16 votes
9 answers
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What are the retorts to Searle's Chinese Room?

Searle's Chinese Room basically argues that a program cannot make a computer 'intelligent'. Searle summarises the argument as Imagine a native English speaker who knows no Chinese locked in a room ...
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