[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Tue Feb 16 16:27:11 UTC 2010

Since my last post Gordon Swobe has posted 2 times.
> Seems to me consciousness amounts to just another biological process like digestion.

No, Swobe is incorrect even about what things seem like to him. Swobe can explain how digestion came to occur on planet Earth but he has no explanation how consciousness did. I have an explanation for both, but then unlike Swobe I think intelligent behavior implies consciousness. Swobe says he believes in Evolution but the fact that he thinks intelligence and consciousness are separate things and yet Evolution produced them both is clear proof that the man has no comprehension how that vitally important process works.

> If you cannot see yourself understanding the symbols as either the man considered as the program (IN the room or AS a neuron) or as the man considered as the system (AS the room or AS a brain) then Searle has proved his point.

True, I can not see myself understanding those Chinese symbols, but I can't see myself manipulating them to produce intelligent output either; perhaps something could do that but whatever it is it wouldn't be human.

> These attempts of yours amount to saying "Suppose that even though Searle is right that the man cannot understand the symbols either as the program or as the system, pink unicorns on the moon do nevertheless understand the symbols."

This shows that not only does Swobe misunderstand Evolution he doesn't understand understanding either. Swobe seems obsessed in determining the exact spacial coordinates of consciousness, which makes about as much sense as demanding to know where fast is, or the number eleven.

 John K Clark 

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