Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Tue Sep 12 19:29:47 2006
Feeding the Searle Lions

To briefly revisit Searle, which I blogged about a long time ago and of whom I've heard a lot about recently (Chinese Room argument), the main point of Searle, as I see it, is to jar people by making them realise that in Searle's systm, the person does not understand Chinese, and to expect them to find it absurd to consider anything else. The right solution, that the system as a whole understands Chinese, is not intuitively satisfying, because we don't like attaching understanding, something core to what it means to be human, to a more abstract system. In this mind experiment, by delving into assigning intelligence/understanding to something nonliving and abstract, Searle extends emotive understanding to try to make us reject the position he dislikes, although to do so takes us away from what would be, in my opinon, the position we'd reach after sufficient careful thought. Searle thus, in my understanding, acts as a deliberate voice for emotional blindness to truth. Searle's response, a suggestion to memorise the rule book, is just another obfuscation in that it does not eliminate the "system" aspect, it just disguises one of the players. Searle's question is not interesting in itself -- at best, it can act as a dead-animal doormat inviting people into a more interesting room of honest discussion on the mind. That is all.