January 22nd, 2002

Trevor baby stare

Chinese Support for the Chinese Room

In John Searle's famous Chinese Room thought experiment, he appeals to intuition to show that, although it may look like the person (or room) knows Chinese, it doesn't at all. This is because the it does not create Chinese sentences, given no input. It knows Chinese in a catechysmic sense, but not poetically. The essence of (languistic) consciousness is not captured merely by input/output relations, but also pure output and pure input.

All the clinical psychology experiments in the world could not lead to a full understanding of human mental activity, for they do not test what people do when given no input. Understanding the river is very different than understanding the spring. We are well on the way to understanding creative and receptive when they're bound together, but we do not consider individually the creative nor the receptive.
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