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36 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

There is a blatant problem with Searle’s argument and it’s quite hard to understand why it hasn’t been pointed out before: None of Mr. Searle’s brain cells understands English, yet he claims that he ...
gnasher729's user avatar
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22 votes
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Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

I find it odd that his main argument for why programs could not think was that because programs could only follow syntax rules but could not associate any understanding or semantics to words( or any ...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
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16 votes

How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

Wittgenstein in his intermediate period provided a response, before the age of AI research and Searle's objections. In a nutshell: semantics is another syntax. Words only mean as role players in a ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

As I see it, Searle is getting at the point that syntax is algorithmic — a system driven by predefined rules and procedures — but semantics is (as far as we can tell) not. In other words, it's easy ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
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9 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

Short Answer There's a number of positions outlined in your SEP link to Searle's Room that make clear that philosophy has not decided by consensus one way or another the question of human and semantic ...
J D's user avatar
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8 votes

Why doesn't the Chinese room learn Chinese?

Even if the man inside the Chinese room memorised every single translation instance (theoretically every possible combination which is impossible given our limited memory, but it's a thought ...
jphillips's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why does Searle's room receive three batches of Chinese characters and two English instruction manuals as input?

I would encourage you to read the very original paper (here is a copy) ... If you read this from the very beginning, you'll find that Searle's use of three different batches of symbols is really in ...
Bram28's user avatar
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7 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

TL:DR; If we view brains as computing machines (which, for all we know, they are), there is no basis for Searle's claim. According to the Church-Turing thesis, which is a very respected result in ...
Jencel's user avatar
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5 votes

How does human intelligence differ from Searle's chinese room?

I would like to suggest that your puzzlement arises from confusing intelligence and consciousness. Neither concept is well defined but nonetheless they are distinct. Searle would say that a Chinese ...
nir's user avatar
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5 votes

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

I think a key difficulty is that different people mean different things by the prefix "virtual." For some people (I think Searle is one of them or close to being one), virtual means simulated -- that ...
virmaior's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Why wouldn't Searle learn Chinese in his Room given infinite time?

The argument is against the validity of the Turing test as a sufficient sign of intelligence. In a comment, you say: Perhaps I should reword the question to Given enough time, data, & quality ...
LangeHaare's user avatar
5 votes

Can computers do things Turing machines can't?

Short answer is no; modern computers cannot do things that Turing machines can't do. What they can do is run very sophisticated, complex Turing machines that simulate things that Turing machines would ...
Tim B   II's user avatar
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5 votes

The person in the Chinese Room Argument is a strong AI

No, there’s no artificial incapacitating. The rules are set up in a certain way to draw certain conclusions. The Chinese room works for all computation at any level. The outputs can be as ...
J Kusin's user avatar
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4 votes

Why wouldn't Searle learn Chinese in his Room given infinite time?

Searle isn't suggesting that he can't learn to understand Chinese. He's asserting that, just because a computer can answer questions like a human, does not mean that the computer understands language. ...
Alex's user avatar
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4 votes

Does a philosophy of language presuppose a philosophy of mind?

There is rarely a consensus that some philosopher is "right" about something. But there is a general sense in analytic philosophy that the linguistic turn exhausted itself by 1990s, and exactly ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

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

I think that any comprehensive account of meaning must include an account of intentionality, but the real challenge is to give an account of both meaning and intentionality in non-intentional terms. ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes

Why doesn't the Chinese room learn Chinese?

There seem to be several things not understood in asking this question. Searle gave an intuitive argument. He did not and still does not understand the details so there was a limit to what he could ...
scientious's user avatar
4 votes

What is Searle's argument against machine functionalism?

Functionalism is the view that mental states are nothing but the mental functions being performed. That is, there is no underlying mental "substance," for the lack of a better term, other than the ...
Bertrand Wittgenstein's Ghost's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Why are referring and predicating distinct from illocutionary acts?

Searle is trying to piece out different aspects of a speech act, so that we can get at those aspects analytically instead of treating the speech act as an undifferentiated whole. So, when we make a ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
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4 votes

Is AI in a Crisis of Science?

Your question appears to be ill informed. Neural networks. Image processing, through layered convolutional neural networks. Natural language processing by Watson (able to beat humans at Jeopardy). ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
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3 votes
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Can there be intentionality without consciousness?

The inverse square law is about gravity, the triangle inequality is about triangles, "the grass is green" is about grass. They sure are. But what makes them being about? A brick wall has bricks in it, ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.4k
3 votes

Can there be intentionality without consciousness?

You don't have to go so far down as the laws of physics. Most classes of life exhibit intentionality without consciousness (amoebas, viruses, plants, etc...). Daniel Dennett talks about it in many ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

The "syntax is not semantics" principle in the Chinese Room Argument (CRA) is based on the relationship between the Searle-computer and the Chinese symbols. Searle correctly characterizes this as a ...
Phil_132's user avatar
  • 114
3 votes

How does human intelligence differ from Searle's chinese room?

John Searle's Chinese Room example is clumsy and is vulnerable to all sorts of refutations from a strictly technical point of view (The systems reply, The brain simulator reply, etc...). But this is ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
3 votes

How could a computer acquire knowledge of its environment?

Let's look at "Chinese Room". The words traverse the optic nerve as a complicated neural pattern with no semantic significance. Once they hit the brain, the brain can assign meaning to the letters, ...
David Thornley's user avatar
3 votes

What relevance, if any, does collective memory in ants have to John Searle's Chinese Room argument?

John Searle's Chinese Room Argument (CRA) does not object to using computers as tools to simulate human understanding but to the claim that the simulating machines and the programs actually understand ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
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3 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

Another argument I’ve seen against the experiment is that “together with a book of instructions for manipulating the symbols (the program),” capable of interpreting Mandarin like a native speaker, ...
Davislor's user avatar
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3 votes

Why is it impossible for a program or AI to have semantic understanding?

The Chinese Chinese Room The main problem with the Chinese Room argument is that it presupposes a massive, massive thing: an algorithm which provides "Chinese language responses". We are ...
Lawnmower Man's user avatar

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