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Chinese room argument

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-W003-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

John Searle’s ‘Chinese room’ argument aims to refute ‘strong AI’ (artificial intelligence), the view that instantiating a computer program is sufficient for having contentful mental states. Imagine a program that produces conversationally appropriate Chinese responses to Chinese utterances. Suppose Searle, who understands no Chinese, sits in a room and is passed slips of paper bearing strings of shapes which, unbeknown to him, are Chinese sentences. Searle performs the formal manipulations of the program and passes back slips bearing conversationally appropriate Chinese responses. Searle seems to instantiate the program, but understands no Chinese. So, Searle concludes, strong AI is false.

Citing this article:
Gulick, Robert Van. Chinese room argument, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-W003-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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