Searle's Argument Analysis

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In this essay I will be presenting Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment and the argument that follows from it. I will be showing a criticism of the current state of the experiment and discussing the applicability of the experiment with the brain and the mind. This will then lead me to my opinion of the argument currently succeeding, with science and Artificial intelligence as it currently stands. The Chinese room is a thought experiment whereby you are asked to imagine yourself (a non-Chinese speaker) in a room full of pieces of paper with Chinese symbols written in different patterns all over them. There is a screen on the wall that flashes certain sequences of Chinese symbols. You have in front of you a rule book which explains that…show more content…
It is able to recognise and order them but has no concept of what they stand for. His second premise, "Minds have mental contents (semantics).” can be explained as our thoughts have meaning and our minds are able to interpret meaning from the stimuli that we experience around us, we are able to understand what certain things, such as symbols, represent. This then leads to his third and most disputed premise: "Syntax by itself is neither constitutive of nor sufficient for semantics." This is the premise that Searle uses the Chinese room experiment to prove. The thought experiment shows syntax as it is the processing of symbols using rules set out for the person involved however Searle would conclude that there are no semantics involved as there is no understanding within that room of what any of the Chinese symbols mean or represent. Therefore, the presence of syntax is not sufficient for the presence of semantics. Searle, using these premises, comes to the conclusion that Programs are neither constitutive of nor sufficient for minds. This conclusion seems hard to dispute due to being well supported by the premises. As programs do not have semantics and only syntax, and it is agreed that syntax is insufficient for semantics,…show more content…
Searle states that none of the people in the gymnasium understands the symbols, questions or answers, they are just following their rule books, and the group of them do not understand the language as a collective. Searle claims that it is ‘intuitively utterly obvious’ that anyone or anything involved in the revised thought experiment actually understand Chinese, not individually or as a whole. The only thing that is taking place in the Chinese gymnasium are ‘meaningless syntactic manipulations from which intentionality and consequently meaningful thought could not conceivably

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