[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Wed Feb 3 15:32:24 UTC 2010

On Feb 2, 2010, Gordon Swobe wrote:

> The mere association of a symbol to another symbol does not give either symbol meaning. 
> Symbols have derived intentionality, whereas people who use symbols have intrinsic intentionality.

Broken down to its smallest component parts, a symbol is something that consistently and systematically changes the state of the symbol reader. A Turing Machine does this when it encounters a zero or a one, and a punch card reader does this when it encounters a hole. You demand an explanation of human style intentionality and say, correctly, that the examples I cite are far less complex and awe inspiring, but if they were just as mysterious they wouldn't be doing their job. I honestly don't know what you want, you say you want an explanation but when one is provided and its split into parts small enough to comprehend you say I understand that so it can't be the explanation.

Your retort is always I don't understand that or I do understand that so "obviously" that can't be right. Even in theory I don't see how any explanation would satisfy you.

 John K Clark

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