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Phil 102 knowledge and reality final - Essay Example

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Phil 102 knowledge and reality final

Consequently, the behaviorists extend this theory to the functioning of computers suggesting that computers can think if they are programmed in a certain way, in which the input/output behavior of a computer is connected to its mental status. However, the Chinese Room argument does not agree with the behaviorist’s claim, which illustrates that thinking is far from a mere production of output from a given stimulus (Martin 175). Therefore, in support of the Chinese Room argument, I will argue that computers do not have mental states because they are incapable of thinking, thus, are not intelligent as human. The Chinese Room argument is one of the examples that present premises to disagree with the notion that computers have a mental state. This argument uses an experiment involving a computer input, output activities of a programmed computer whereby a person who does not speak Chinese completely somehow manages to manipulate Chinese symbols and produce right responses (Martin 178). In this argument, Searle points out a discussion about cognitive science and artificial intelligence. He argues that artificial intelligence is without any doubt artificial. Therefore, the big question here is, are computers intelligent? I agree with Searle’s argument that there is no true intelligence for computers. Unlike beings with mental state, computers do understand language, syntax they are just incapable of understanding (semantics) and emotion. This is because these activities require consciousness lacking in computers. In addition, for computers to be intelligent it would mean that they have beliefs and other mental states like fear, and hope among other emotions. However, this is not true for computers and machines in general. What matters is whether a computer has this sort of internal conscious experience. I doubt that any computer could ever be built to have internal introspectible conscious experience (Martin 186). Because I know that they aren’t constructed to have an inner life, a conscious experience (Martin 186) Hence, I agree that they do not have mental states. Searle claims that the Artificial Intelligence is false because the implemented programs are neither constitutive by themselves nor sufficient for minds (Searle 190). This is because though the computers may appear to converse in natural or normal language, even in principle they are not capable of understanding syntax. I believe this is true because computers manipulate symbol strings simply by the use of syntactic rules; however, they do not have an understanding of the semantics. Moreover, syntax is not sufficient enough to ascertain the presence of semantics. In order to qualify as an intelligent being, the computer must specify language, and to do this it has to specify at least semantics and syntax for the language (Fodor 431). Furthermore, knowing and understanding the meaning of language, which is needed to qualify the behavior of a computer to a mental state, it is mandatory to know grammar, lexicon and semantics. This is because reference, truth and meaning are all connected to the semantic notions. Therefore, it is logical to disagree with the behaviorists claim that computers or machines have mental states that can allow them to think and perform cognitive actions. Unlike computers, humans are intelligent because they have all the inner conscious qualities like desire, ...Show more


Evaluate the Chinese Room argument as a response to the behaviourist's claim that computers can think. Do you agree with the objection? Why or why not? Philosophical behaviourism believes that mental state is equal to the physical state such that a person’s state of mind can be revealed through his/her behavior…
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Phil 102 knowledge and reality final essay essay example
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