The University of Sussex

Escaping from the Chinese room

Margaret A. Boden

Even the simplest program has some semantic properties, so computational theories in psychology are not purely formal-syntactic in nature. It follows that, pace Searle, such theories are not essentially incapable of explaining meaning. Nor is it intuitively obvious (as Searle claims) that neuroprotein can generate intentionality, and that metal and silicon cannot. Insofar as the brain's ability to generate intentionality is intelligible to us at all, it is intelligible only in information- processing terms which can be applied equally well to computers.

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