- Searle: The man certainly doesn't understand Chinese, and neither do the water pipes, and if we are tempted to adopt what I think is the absurd view that somehow the conjunction of man and water pipes understands. ..
- Walter: The bimetallic strip by itself certainly doesn't keep the temperature within limits, and neither does the furnace by itself, and if we are tempted to adopt the view that somehow a system of bimetallic strip and furnace will keep the temperature within limits - or (paraphrasing Hanson 1969; or others), Searle's left retina does not see, nor does his right, nor either (or both) optic nerve(s); we can even imagine a "disconnection syndrome" in which Searle's optic cortex no longer connects with the rest of his brain, and so conclude that his optic cortex doesn't see, either. If we then conclude that because no part sees, therefore he cannot see, are we showing consistency, or are we failing to see something about our own concepts?
- Searle: No one supposes that computer simulations of a five-alarm fire will burn the neighborhood down . . . Why on earth would anyone suppose that a computer simulation of understanding actually understood anything?
- Walter: No one supposes that a novelist's description of a fire-alarm fire will burn the neighborhood down; why would anyone suppose that a novelist writing about understanding actually understood it?
- Searle: If we knew independently how to account for its behavior without such assumptions we would not attribute intentionality to it, especially if we knew it had a formal program.
- Hofstadter (1979, p. 601): There is a related "Theorem" about progress in AI: once some mental function is programmed, people soon cease to consider it as an essential ingredient of "real thinking." The ineluctable core of intelligence is always that next thing which hasn't yet been programmed.
- Walter: Searle seems to be certain that a program is formal (though he plays, to his own advantage, on the ambiguity between "adequately definable through form or shape" and "completely definable through nothing but form or shape"), whereas "intentionality," "causal powers" and "actual properties" are radically different things that are unarguably present in any (normal? waking?) human brain, and possibly in the quaint brains of "Martians" (if they were "alive," at least in the sense that we did not understand what went on inside them). These radically different things are also not definable in terms of their form but of their content. He asserts this repeatedly, without making anything explicit of this vital alternative. I think it is up to Searle to establish communication with the readers of this journal, which he has not done in his target article. Let us hope that in his Response he will make the mentioned but undescribed alternative more nearly explicit to us.
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