|In his series of Audio Lectures on the Philosophy of the Mind, John Searle states that his Chinese Room Argument* proves that the mind has semantics. This strikes me as false:
Think of a word, any word, and you will sense that you know its meaning. Try to identify that meaning and you will only find yourself in more words ? or perhaps images. It appears, then, the nature of the mind is syntactical. Every concept finds its synonyms and relations, and defines itself through placement. If so, can we have semantics?
*The Chinese Room Argument is typically used to disprove the functionality of the Turing Test in Strong Artificial Intelligence Theory. The Turing Test stipulates that if a machine can answer questions in such a way as to be indistinguishable to an expert from a human, that machine can be said to be conscious. The Chinese Room presents us with the following scenario: Suppose we place a person in a room with a group of boxes with Chinese symbols inside them. The person in question has never learned Chinese. Every so often, an envelope slides into the room through a slot in the door with more Chinese symbols inside. However, our test dummy has a set of English instructions that dictate to him for each symbol he gets to go to a box and withdraw a corresponding symbol. These he slides back out through the slot in the door where the experts await their arrival. If the English instructions are good enough, the experts can be fooled into thinking that the man inside the room factually understands Chinese; whereas, it is blatantly not the case ? proving, supposedly, that there?s more to understanding than symbol manipulation.