[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 19 07:01:38 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> As if I had a "being with godlike intelligence in my head who makes the neurons fire"? Honestly Stathis I have no idea what you're talking about.

It boggles my mind that you don't understand what he's talking about
yet. He's mentioned this to you several times; I'll call it Stathis'

It's quite late and I don't have time to reiterate it completely, but
it involves turning off the ability of your neurons to fire in
response to other firings. The daemon does that for you instead,
manually operating the electrical patterns of your brain so that they
match a programmatic simulation (which, of course, is internal to the

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> The CRA thought experiment involves *you the reader* imagining *yourself* in the room (or as the room) using *your* mind to attempt to understand the Chinese symbols.

No one cares! Do *you* understand *why* no one cares?

I will give you a hint: it isn't because everyone who isn't Gordon
Swobe is an ignorant fool. I don't think lack of comprehension is the
problem either, and I severely doubt that you can chalk up all of the
resistance you're getting to the willful rejection of inconvenient

Mostly what we're looking at here is bad communication and
debilitating frustration. It's a vicious cycle. The more frustrated
people get, the worse they communicate; the worse they communicate,
the more frustrating things become.

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> Nobody wants to know about strange speculations of *something else* in or about your brain that might understand the symbols when you don't understand them. I mentioned the pink unicorns the other day for that reason. If mysterious pink unicorns in some mysterious place understand the symbols, but you have no access to their understanding, then Searle still got it right.

EVERYONE wants to know about those strange speculations! That's the
entire point of the Chinese room! Has anyone addressed the very
obvious point, yet, that there is someone talking to the Chinese room
from outside of it?

It's blatantly obvious that that person is talking to *something*. The
question is: does that something understand Chinese? If so, does it
have consciousness?

If you simply jump straight to the conclusion that the someone is
talking to the man in the room, then it's perfectly clear (to me, at
least) that the answer to the first question is no; in which case we
never reach the second question.

However, it is far from obvious that the man is a participant in the
conversation at all. Certainly the man doesn't know that he's talking
to anyone, and no one knows that they're talking to the man. So, if
the man is not in the conversation, who or what is communicating the
things that he is writing down?

If there is such a thing at all, it must be a strange thing indeed: a
delocalized virtual entity lacking any physical reality to speak of*.

I, for one, do not take for granted that this disqualifies it in any
way for the possession of understanding, intelligence, or

*Reminiscent of a nolipsistic description of the self, wouldn't you say?

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