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169-172 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117775 . Accessed: 13/04/2011 14:33
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the man can by in Chinese that are passed into respond so well to questions written the room that. endow a computer with understanding. . cal level and have the competence of a genuine Chinese speaker. Synthese 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers. therefore. I think many is unacceptable. The man inside the room won't be able to answer this or like questions if he relies only on syntacti consistently to do in Searle's suggestion. though he doesn't understand Chinese.2 I want to room described even in that the Chinese above is impossible argue be limited to the syntacti since the man cannot simultaneously theory. and. man who is locked in a room with a book containing rules syntactical of Chinese written in English. stand: the man Searle's Chinese Room was indistinguishable a room is impossible: the man won't be able to respond is the time?'. But such doesn't understand speaker. it is impossible for someone outside the room to discern between the answers coming out of the room and those that would have been given by a genuine in Chinese inside the room. understanding. undermine in Chinese and passed Consider the following question written into the room: 'What is the time?'. from a genuine Chinese to prove that computers can't under supposed like a computer. ? Printed in the Netherlands. to questions like 'What correctly for a genuine Chinese speaker. in the room. or at least disturbing. showing why it is not possible will. because of the apparent theoret claim persuasive. Assisted these rules. The man perfectly Chinese his lack of understanding it. Hence. syntactical though a word.HANNOCH BEN-YAMI A NOTE ON THE CHINESE ROOM ABSTRACT.1 to Searle's analogy did the objections To the best of my knowledge. 1993. asks us to imagine a Searle. as he is supposed 95: 169-172. not oppose of the Chinese the theoretical possibility room. answering speaker. following. Searle's in his description of the Chinese room. ical possibility of the Chinese room. found Searle's the analogy therefore. Searle's position. rules alone. even though such an ability is indispensable to provide the room with the required Several ways concluded that for each of these the room will have argument is invalid. is an analogy to the pro despite that syntax alone cannot Searle thus concludes grammed computer. and it is ability are considered. If the man is cal rules.
then we have to conclude The second possible way to enable the man in the room to answer the question is not to make him respond by himself. say. then we may claim that he doesn't understand but then neither to a is he equivalent Chinese. etc. once into the room half an hour later. if we want to maintain the competence of a genuine Chinese speaker. In this alternative.. i. syntactical operations. and so on: to all these he won't be able to answer consistently. But even more important than that.'. on the other hand. is he equivalent to a computer genuine Chinese speaker nor. again passed he is instructed to answer: T don't know. hence. The man in the room. The first is to include instructions of this kind: 'If you among the rules (i. Chinese. to learn Chinese and will begin understanding the sentences passed into the room. what is passing the answers into it. color (in com etc. maybe after more In this case. relying only on syntactical rules.3 be a blind.e. . supplies him with the answer has to refer to a watch. on the other hand. man in the room will only have to pass it on correct answer. the existence of understanding depends on what we include in our view. we look at the room combined with standing. then he won't have the competence of a genuine Chinese speaker. ..e. but successfully to instruct him to pass the question on.170 HANNOCH BEN-YAMI instructed to give an arbitrary answer to such questions. If he is analogous to the programmed my second example). possibly after some syntactical or something to someone that will supply him with the processing. will senses. we cannot conclude which is equivalent from the man's lack of understanding that the computer will lack under If. while whatever In such a case. If. then he won't to this question when be able to answer consistently it is. play two notes on a piano and ask which is higher. and the as the output. That is the above example because is only one of many. his ability to answer the relies on his understanding questions of the concepts of time. deaf. are given the sentence the Chinese to (here question corresponding the English 'What is the time?' should be written) look at a watch and write a sentence according to these rules: . Obviously.. to such a speaker. . . then we do have in this union the the man in the room man . therefore. a Chinese bereft of his There are only two alternatives open to us. puter. the he will gradually start responds correctly by himself. the program) . remains in the syntactical level. that the computer has understanding. If we only consider the man in the room. I don't have a watch'. We can pass a colored card into the room and ask what its color is.
as syntax. can be that a computer. and in this way meaning with the surrounding world comes into being . p. and author's Brains and Science and on responses). p. that if the analogy between the system and the computer holds. enough genuine according the speed Dennett nor Chinese to them and the Churchlands claim that the man is neither Chinese. syntax is sufficient for language-understanding: the complexity of the program. are the only obstacles also Rapaport (1988. able to work fast to follow a sufficiently in order program complex and therefore he doesn't understand speaker. as well NOTES room in several places. (Searle p. 429: "pass the salt. the computer will have a the required competence. and therefore semantics do have understanding. successfully imitating our linguistic abilities. including open peer commentary on Chapter 2 of his Minds.A NOTE ON THE CHINESE ROOM 171 to a genuine Chinese equivalence speaker. Such would have to refer to things in the world. tion given and Programs' (1980. the ability of the system as a On since understanding. See to imitate a successfully It follows that 1 of processing and 88). who claims "that being a purely syntactic I think Searle is right in accepting language". that's "Computer programs are formal (syntactic)" for sure. we cannot again of the processing is conclude from his lack of understanding that a computer will lack the contrary.4 we can say that Searle was right in arguing that mere In conclusion. Program?' 2 were appended to Searle's commentaries and Brain essay in Behavioral Twenty-seven see Dennett recent criticisms. for understanding natural of his axioms: "Syntax 1990. . For more (1987) and Paul and Patricia Churchland (1990). I'm relying here on the descrip Searle wrote about the Chinese in his 'Minds. a computer limited solely to syntactical rules (the Chinese room). 27). the machines we build in AI do refer to the world surrounding them. but wrong in assuming syntactical rules won't suffice for understanding. (Searle 1990.just as our language acquires meaning: through the use we make of it in our contact with the world. Sciences. be it to a watch fixed inside it or to perceptual via various information in order to instruments. p. a Computer his article 'Is the Brain's Mind (1990). to the ability of a genuine Chinese to process data is equivalent whole seem legitimate to attribute understanding to it. but the computer in which they are actualized makes contact in a certain way. achieve that is. then the computer has understanding. and therefore will have understanding. Indeed. Brains. nor sufficient constitutive by itself is neither Examples similar to mine are forwarded entity is sufficient the contrary as one for semantics" by Dennett (1980. 27). (1984). But since an important part not done by the man in the room. so it does speaker.
'Minds. Cambridge. we won't to enable readers this objection REFERENCES Churchland. 349-72. P. 323-37. 1987. Daniel: 1987. p. (ed. 30) just syntax if their inputs and outputs were to the rest of the world. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences John: 1980. Minds. 81-131. Stance. The while into and not causal a robot. Brains. 352). the required competence. 'The Milk Intentionality'. Dennett. pp. 'The Right Stuff. p. attached to the computer the television messages connecting arms and legs. Language Kluwer Academic Dordrecht. have This semantics relation is his to show find that the man Searle in the room called cannot is the one of "the Robot formulation the objection: would Computers put in appropriate computer transducers output semantics. 4 to mine The closest that I could objection Reply" (Searle 1980. p. 420). Christopher: William 'Fast Thinking'.172 HANNOCH BEN-YAMI and by Maloney between the tea"). 1990. Maloney. 1980. addition room. television installed and had system would the computer have a the world this objection and mine is that this one takes the contact with between as a contingent to the Chinese it can function without.: 1988. 'Could a Machine Think?'.). p. that we put the Imagine cameras to the robot's head. 70. Aspects of Artificial Intelligence. Searle. My examples agents" be a 'fluent linguistic agent'. Fetzer Understanding'. 262. American Dennett. Publishers. 25-31. and author's 3. in James H. pp. is that theirs require a nonlinguistic I action. Scientific American 262. (including and Science. J. and Programs'. Churchland: of Human in D. The The Behavioral Intentional 3. Then the whole the robot's operate (Searle 1990. 1984. Harvard Brains John: Press. University Massachusetts. while mine examples requires to affect think Maloney is right to maintain that "the ability the environment is not a in naturally condition of language fluent necessary universally comprehension linguistic please") attempt (1987. 'Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program'. of Philosophy Department Tel-Aviv University 69978 Tel-Aviv. Synthese Foundations of Computational Natural 'Syntactic Semantics: Rapaport. Daniel: and P. M. 1990. 420). S. one at all: without in order to make I think it is a necessary addition the room function difference I have cited the objection in full. Massachusetts. The difference (1987. Press. 428-30. Israel . Scientific and Brain MIT 32-37. Cambridge. Sciences Dennett. 351: "prepare an answer. Searle. p. John: Searle. to judge for themselves the difference the two. J. in order answers have it. 417-57 open peer commentary responses). Searle between in Searle (1980.
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