• Marchesk
    3k
    One thing I've never seen brought up in the Chinese Room argument is the later Wittgenstein's view of language where meaning is use. If that's the case, then a system that perfectly translates English to Chinese does not understand anything, because symbol translation is not fundamentally different form looking up words in a dictionary, and definitions are not meaning under language is use.

    We would have to say that such a system, if it's possible, cannot understand language unless it can do all the other things with words that humans do. It must participate in the various languag games. So a robot that perfectly uses English or Chinese in all the situations humans use it would understand by definition.

    Therefore, on the view that meaning is use, Searle was correct, at least the way he set up the thought experiment.
  • god must be atheist
    1.2k
    A machine translator was given the task to turn the following sentence to Russian, then back to English. The original English sentence read, "The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak." Came back as "The vodka was okay, but the meat was rotten."

    Wittgesteintfeldrosenbaumblattblumberger was not always right.
  • Marchesk
    3k


    Haha!

    That raises question of how does the Chinese Room manage to perform perfect translations. Can that be done by mere rule following?

    Then again, doesn't a language game involve rule following?
  • god must be atheist
    1.2k
    all langauge is symbolic, and all symbols have secondary, tertiary, etc. symbolism.

    If a language translator translates perfectly, then it just was successful at hitting the common language symbolism tracks (primary, secondary, terciary, etc.) in the same sequence as the original text was meant to communicate.
  • Banno
    6.7k
    Searle is addressing the Wittgenstein view, thorough his own lens. Searle has much to say on intentionality. The argument form the Chinese room is that the room lacks intentionality, aboutness. To have that sort of intentionality it would have to have to have grown as an individual taking part in a language community. That's not too far from saying we need to look at what is done with the information translated...

    Translation software now uses statistical data based on multiple texts to predict what text is the best replacement for another. It's a neat example of information being moved around without any attached use.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.6k
    That raises question of how does the Chinese Room manage to perform perfect translations. Can that be done by mere rule following?

    Then again, doesn't a language game involve rule following?
    Marchesk

    And computers can follow instructions, which are rules for doing something.

    Does following rules entail understanding and knowledge? If so, then a computer posesses understanding.

    The man in theChinese room does understand something - the rules for returning certain scribbles when given certain scribbles. If the scribbles have another meaning then that just means you need to provide the rules for using the scribbles with the different meaning.
  • Marchesk
    3k
    The man in theChinese room does understand something - the rules for returning certain scribbles when given certain scribbles. If the scribbles have another meaning then that just means you need to provide the rules for using the scribbles with the different meaning.Harry Hindu

    But that won't past muster with language as use version of meaning, since rule following for translating language is not the same thing as use of words in language games.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.6k
    How is translating words not a type of language use? And it seems to me that in using language or translating languages, you follow rules. If you want to talk about language as a game, or something that is used, then that implies rules to follow to play the game or use words correctly.
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