Questioning the conventional wisdom
A quick note, and a link.
There’s a discussion of intentionality at a site where I participate:
I did not start the topic, but I am one of the participants.
Posted on March 19, 2014 at 22:54 (UTC) in intentionality | RSS feed
Nice discussion. Although, I think folks are being a little unfair to Searle. The more important point of the CR is epistemological, isn’t it? Not that there isn’t a necessary relationship between syntax and semantics, but that you can’t know it via the syntax alone.
Taking the idea to the discussion of anesthesia, there’s the problem of amnestic anesthesia. Observers report that the subject was conscious; the subject claims unconsciousness. What do we say about the subject’s intentionality, if he says one instant that he is in horrible pain and the next that he was never in pain? We’ve turned him into a thermostat with reporting privileges, it would appear. Does his pain really have intensional inexistence at any point and how would anyone know?
I think folks are being a little unfair to Searle.
I have a lot or respect for Searle. His intuitive understanding seems pretty good. He maybe can’t convince people, that the nature of the subject matter.
On his CR argument, I see him as not having proved what he claims. However, I think is conclusions are probably close to correct.
On the amnesia, brain in vat, etc ideas — these tend to lead to a lot of muddled thinking.
However, the discussion has been reasonably good thus far. Usually such discussions are between philosophers or philosophers and AI people. In this case, there are several scientists — mostly biologists — participating.
Some evidence in your favor: the introduction of those topics marks some degeneration in the discussion. I agree with you regarding categorization (in the broad sense), by the way.
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