John Searle's Argument

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In John Searle’s “Chinese Room” argument he is aiming to indicate that computers cannot think like human beings can. To demonstrate his argument he uses an example of somebody, who is not a native Chinese speaker, being locked in a room with Chinese symbols. The person is then given a book in their native language, in this case English, which tells him or her how to produce symbols effectively in Chinese. It is important to note that the English book telling whoever is locked in the room how to create the Chinese symbols is only telling him or her the formal structure of the Chinese language, not the meaning of each symbol. After the person has created their answer in Chinese, they will receive another question in Chinese. This process goes…show more content…
First of all, his argument is a good argument because he clearly stated his premises and conclusion. Another reason why I think his argument is a good argument is because he explained, in a straightforward fashion, how computer systems work. He argues that computers work in steps that use formal structures, none of which have any meaning connected to them; meaning is usually referred to as semantics in language. After he explains how computers work he goes on to have his audience imagine themselves in a situation that could easily happen to them, making for an easier understanding of what he is attempting to argue; to make his way of reasoning even more clear, after the Chinese room example he gave an example of just the opposite situation, one in which a person is answering questions in their own native language. In this scenario the person would know and understand what it is they are saying because they know the meaning of words in their language, unlike in the Chinese example where no meanings were connected to the symbols. A final reason why he produced a good argument is because he gave answers to the arguments that are brought up to go against his argument. For example, his argument is faced with the argument that the whole computer program really does understand Chinese, but Searle explains that that is not the case because computers only have syntax, where they would need semantics as well as syntax to be able to truly have an understanding of any given

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