[ExI] Semiotics and Computability (was: The digital nature of brains)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 10:14:01 UTC 2010

On 5 February 2010 00:47, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- On Thu, 2/4/10, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> Stathis wrote:
>>> Searle would say that there
>>> needs to be an extra step whereby the symbol so grounded gains
>>> "meaning", but this extra step is not only completely mysterious, it
>>> is also completely superfluous, since every observable fact about
>>> the world would be the same without it.
> No, he would remind you of the obvious truth there exist facts in the world that have subjective first-person ontologies. We can know those facts only in the first-person but they have no less reality than those objective third-person facts that as you say "would be the same without it".
> Real subjective first-person facts of the world include one's own conscious understanding of words.

I don't deny subjective experience but I deny that when I understand
something I do anything more than associate it with another symbol,
ultimately grounded in something I have seen in the real world. That
would seem necessary and sufficient for understanding, and for the
subjective experience of understanding, such as it is. Searle is
postulating an extra layer over and above this which is completely
useless. What's to stop us postulating even more layers: people with
red hair have understanding*, which stands in relation to
understanding as understanding stands in relation to mere
symbol-association. Of course the redheads don't behave any
differently and don't even know they are any different, but when they
use a word they experience something which non-redheads could never
even imagine.

Stathis Papaioannou

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