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Philosophy of mind

Summary of Searle’s Claim Searle’s (1980) reply to the query: “Could a machine think?” is built on two propositions, which he stated as follows: “(1) Intentionality in human beings (and animals) is a product of causal features of the brain. (2) Instantiating a computer program is never by itself a sufficient condition of intentionality.” Searle explains that the strict logical consequence of his first two propositions is (3) the explanation that the manner by which the brain produces intentionality invalidates the claim that intentionality is also produced by instantiating a computer program. Hence, a computer program cannot produce intentionality. He furthers that the trivial consequence of his first proposition is (4) the need to possess causal powers similar with those of the brain to enable any mechanism to produce intentionality. Hence, a machine should have a human-like brain to be able to think. Lastly, he explains that what follows to his propositions 2 and 4 is the proposition (5) that any literal attempt to create intentionality through artificial way would fail to do so if it will only design programs like the AI; what it needs to succeed is to recreate the human brain’s causal powers. ...
Hence proposition (1) can be stated as human beings have intentionality because they have the causal powers of the brain. This way of saying it is to state Searle’s argument in another way – that intentionality is the mental activity that human beings are capable of doing because of the causal powers of the human brain that they biologically possess; for a machine to think it must have intentionality which can only be possible through having the causal powers of the brain. Hence, not unless the machine has the causal powers of the brain similar to human beings, the machine could not think. Thus, to say that AI, as what functionalism and computationalism persistently assert, can fully think – with the understanding that thinking here has intentionality – is short of saying that AI can also be human beings – a claim that obviously Searle does not want to accept, rejecting every possibility that AI could think and consistently defending his position that intentionality is a mental characteristic inherent to human beings. Actually, AI’s claim seems harmless, but perhaps Searle has perceived its dangerous implication that’s why he obstinately opposes it. Hence on his part, Searle simplifies his proposition (1) in a way that does not allow an AI to become capable of thinking: “… certain brain processes are sufficient for intentionality” (p. 417). Searle’s way of simplifying his proposition (1) is to emphasize his point that intentionality requires necessary causal features of the brain that is far more than the information processing system that computationalism is so proud of or the formal symbol manipulation of functionalism, because these causal features of the brain are in fact ...Show more

Summary

John Searle’s Case against Artificial Intelligence: ‘Only a Machine Could Think’ Introduction Searle’s (1980) reply to the query “Could a machine think?” by saying, “… only a machine could think” (p. 417, 431) could be easily misconstrued to mean that Searle’s reply is affirmative…
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