lecture 8

lecture 8 - Philosophy262 SearleonUnderstanding Language An...

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Philosophy 262 Searle on Understanding  Language
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An argument for artificial intelligence (i) It’s possible (in principle) to construct a machine that can pass the Turing Test (ii) The ability to pass the Turing Test is sufficient for the ability to use and understand language . (iii) The ability to use and understand language is sufficient for being a thinking intelligent being. Therefore, it’s possible (in principle) to construct a machine that is a thinking intelligent being.
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Argument against the Systems Reply All a digital computer can do is manipulate symbols on the basis of their syntactic or formal features . (2) Manipulating symbols on the basis of their syntactic or formal features is not sufficient for understanding what those symbols mean. (3) Understanding what the symbols of a language mean is required for understanding that language. Therefore, a digital computer cannot truly understand language. (And thus, even if a digital computer could pass the Turing test in some language, it would not thereby understand that language.)
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The Robot Reply Although the Chinese Room cannot understand Chinese, this does not rule out the possibility of (non-biological) machines that can understand language and have meaningful thoughts. Suppose: “we put a computer inside a robot, and this computer would not just take in formal symbols as input and give out formal symbols as output, but rather would operate the robot in such a way that the robot does something very much like perceiving, walking, moving about, hammering nails, eating, drinking, anything you like. [It] would, for example, have a television camera attached to it that enabled it to see, it would have arms and legs that enabled it to ‘act’, and all of this would be controlled by its computer ‘brain’. Such a robot would… have genuine understanding and other mental states.” (Searle, p. 362)
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lecture 8 - Philosophy262 SearleonUnderstanding Language An...

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