[ExI] Meaningless Symbols.

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Jan 13 15:15:43 UTC 2010

2010/1/14 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> --- On Wed, 1/13/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The man physically constitutes the whole system but that
>> does not mean that understanding at a higher level does not supervene
>> on his low level symbol processing.
> Understanding at what higher level?
> The man stands in the middle of a field, naked, processing Chinese symbols in his head according to the syntactic rules specified in the program. Show me who or what understands the symbols.

Suppose neurons are smart enough to understand their individual job,
such as that they have to fire when they see a certain concentration
of neurotransmitter, but not smart enough to understand the big
picture. These neurons are in a Chinese speaker's head, and the rest
of the cells in his body are no smarter than the neurons. Show me who
or what understands Chinese.

Stathis Papaioannou

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