The Chinese Room Revisited Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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molecule of gas has no temperature or pressure. A mass of them ? does. Where did the temperature and pressure come from? Not from any single molecule ? so we are forced to believe that both these qualities emerged. Temperature and pressure (in the case of gas molecules), thinking (in the case of neurones) ? are emergent phenomena. All we can say is that there seems to be an emergent source of mental states. As an embryo develops, it is only when it crosses a certain quantitative threshold (number of differentiated cells) ? that he begins to demonstrate mental states. The source is not clear ? but the locus is. The residence of the mental states is always known ? whether the source is point-like and identifiable, or diffusely emerges as an epiphenomenon. It is because we can say

very little about the source of mental states ? and a lot about their locus, that we developed an observer bias. It is much easier to observe mental states in their locus ? because they create behaviour. By observing behaviour ? we deduce the existence of mental states. The alternative is solipsism (or religious panpsychism, or mere belief). The dichotomy is clear and painful: either we, as observers, cannot recognize mental states, in principle ? or, we can recognize them only through their products. Consider a comatose person. Does he have a mental life going on? Comatose people have been known to have reawakened in the past. So, we know that they are alive in more than the limited physiological sense. But, while still, do they have a mental life of any sort? We cannot know.

This means that in the absence of observables (behaviour, communication) ? we cannot be certain that mental states exist. This does not mean that mental states ARE those observables (a common fallacy). This says nothing about the substance of mental states. This statement is confined to our measurements and observations and to their limitations. Yet, the Chinese Room purports to say something about the black box that we call ?mental states?. It says that we can know (prove or refute) the existence of a TRUE mental state ? as distinct from a simulated one. That, despite appearances, we can tell a ?real? mental state apart from its copy. Confusing the source of the intelligence with its locus is at the bottom of this thought experiment. It is conceivable to have an intelligent

entity with mental states ? that derives (or derived) its intelligence and mental states from a point-like source or acquired these properties in an emergent, epiphenomenal way. The identity of the source and the process through which the mental states were acquired are irrelevant. To say that the entity is not intelligent (the computer, the English speaker) because it got its intelligence from the outside (the programmer) ? is like saying that someone is not rich because he got his millions from the national lottery.