A Critique Of The Chinese Room Argument

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(Not) Mere Semantics: A Critique of the Chinese Room
The Roman Stoic, Seneca, is oft quoted that it is the power of the mind to be unconquerable (Seneca, 1969). And so seems that, in recent times, Searle has produced a similar rhetoric. (At least insofar as strong AI might ‘conquer’ and reducibly explain mental states). This essay will attempt to do two things: 1) Examine three central objections to Searle’s Chinese Room Argument (CRA); these being the Systems Reply (SR), Deviant Causal Chain (DCC), and what I have termed the Essence Problem. The CRA is found to survive the first three, while damaged by the fourth for its question-begging form. And, 2) it will propose a
The Chinese Room
Searle’s 1980 essay, Minds, Brains and Programs is
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The latter more specifically states that thoughts are certain kinds of computation and, as universal Turing machines can compute any kind of computable function, they can in principle be programmed to actuate a human mind.

Searle’s argument can be put propositionally as:
1. If Strong AI is true, then there is a program for Chinese such that if any computing system runs that program, that system thereby comes to understand Chinese.
2. I could run a program for Chinese without thereby coming to understand Chinese.
3. Therefore Strong AI is false. (Cole, 2014)
Although it should be pointed out that what Searle’s precise position has come under scrutiny and there is reason to change what might be considered the ‘success’ of the paper depending on what these reading differences are. (Harnad, 2001)
• “Weak AI”: the claim that computers are merely able to simulate rather than literally think.
• It would seem that much of the battle over the CRA’s validity turns on different intuitions of whether semantic content is reducible to syntactic frameworks. (Can computationalism provide a scientific theory which might elucidate the essential nature of content?)
• Systems Reply (Fodor and Block)
• Searle (1991a) deftly produces an argument to block the systems objection, namely that the individual internalise all the elements of the system. So he concludes, “If he doesn’t understand, then there is no way the system could understand because the
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