|Oct22-05, 10:41 AM||#69|
John Searle's China Room
problem first, before we can have a genuine test.
is part of understanding, then there should be a conscious awareness of
Chinese in the room (or in Searle's head, in the internalised case).
But, by the original hypothesis, there isn't.
You could claim that consciousness is not necessarly part of machine understanding;
but that would be an admission that the CR's understanding is half-baked
compared to human understanding...unless you claim that huamn understanding
has nothing to do with consciousness either.
But consciousness is a defintional quality of understanding, just as being
umarried is being a defintional quality of being a bachelor.
know it. etc. That higher-level knowing-how-you-know is consciousness by
from mere know-how.
Write down a definition of "red" that a blind person would understand.
computer is much more restricted.
and I maintain it does, the arguemnt for strong AI founders and Searle makes
his case. Remember , he is not attacking weak AI, the idea that computers
can come up with some half-baked approxiamtion to human understanding.
they are no longer necessary -- people who become blind in adulthood
do not learnt the meanings of colour-words.
Of course they may have "good enough" semantics -- hardly anyone has full
semantics. But a silicon computer would be much more semantically limited than
is much more extreme.
language ITFP. If you disagree, define "red" in such a way that a person
blind from birth could understand it.
|Oct22-05, 11:10 PM||#70|
As far as I know, empathy is empathy. It is an ability to understand the curcumstances influencing another human being as well as the ability to identify with objects and animals other than humans. It is a part of understanding and a powerful by-product of consciousness.
You don't need to empathize with a Frankophone to understand the french language???
Of course you do. Otherwise you wouldn't be learning french. As soon as the vowels and all those damn silent letters start forming in your mouth...... and you have to twist an accent out of your tongue.... you are on the path to empathizing with the French people.... like it or not. You are assuming their role and method of communication. When you assume the role or.... "walk in their shoes" (so to speak) you are truely standing under them.... or.... understanding the people and their language.
Understanding describes a function in humans that is more complex than the simple ability to repeat words in a correct sequence so that communication in french or math or medicine is achieved. That is called comprehension and it is properly used by the Italians when they ask you if you "comprende?" as in "can you comprehend what I am saying?"
There is a reason there are different words to describe different functions... the differences between the meanings of words are slight.... but they are there for a reason. Terminologies offer subtle shades that help to distinguish the speaker's or writer's references and descriptions.
That is why you see cell differenciation in the plant and animal kingdoms. Different cells function in different ways. They don't work in other organs or tissues. They must be used in the context they have evolved to serve. Much in the way languages develope specific terminology to describe specific functions.
The alien term for understanding is different from the North American term "understanding". The alien terms describes a completely different function... they may use telepathy... they may have greater experiences they may hook up with parallel dimensions to ascertain the function of "ravlinz". For humans, and I'm not sure yet what the components of understanding are.... but for humans we use experience, consciousness, empathy and knowledge in a slap-dash mixture that we call "understanding".
|Oct23-05, 01:48 AM||#71|
In the same way, there are degrees of understanding. For example, agent "A" could claim to understand something about quantum physics, but "A" might nevertheless acknolwedge that "A" does not understand as much as agent "B", who is a quantum physics expert.
It would be wrong to conclude that both A and B had the same degree of understanding of quantum physics. It would also be wrong to conclude that A had no understanding and B had understanding.
You are entitled to your rather strange opinion, but I do not share it.
It can be argued that person X who understands the French language AND empathises strongly with the French people has a better understanding of the French language than person Y who also understands the French language but does not empathise strongly with the French people, but it would be wrong to conclude from this that Y does not understand the French language at all.
If "understanding of Z" was a black and white affair, then it should be possible to test a person's "understanding of Z" and always achieve either 0% or perfect 100% score (either they do understand Z, or they do not). The world does not work this way (even if you would want your ideal world to work like this, it doesn't).
An Eskimo might have different words for these two different types of snow, but in English "it is snowing outside" would be correct in both cases. "it is snowing outside" allows different shades in meaning. In the same way "X understands Y" allows for different shades in meaning - it might mean that X has a basic understanding of Y, it might mean that X is an expert in Y.
may your God go with you
|Oct23-05, 05:29 AM||#72|
To conclude from this that “understanding without consciousness is half baked” is an unsubstantiated anthropocentric (one might even say prejudiced?) opinion.
“To know” is “to possess knowledge”. A computer can report that it “knows” X (in the sense that the knowledge X is contained in it’s memory and processes), it might (if it is sufficiently complex) also be able to explain how it came about that it possesses that knowledge. By your definition such a computer would then be conscious?
I think not. imho what you suggest may be necessary, but is not sufficient, for consciousness.
Allow me to speculate.
Consciousness also requires a certain level of internalised self-representation, such that the conscious entity internally manipulates (processes) symbols for “itself” which it can relate to other symbols for objects and processes in the “perceived outside world”; in doing this it creates an internalised representation of itself in juxtaposition to the perceived outside world, resulting in a self-sustaining internal model. This model can have an unlimited number of possible levels of self-reference, such that it is possible that “it knows that it knows”, “it knows that it knows that it knows” etc.
May your God go with you
|Oct23-05, 08:20 PM||#73|
The problem that I see with his reasoning as I've stated on the other two threads regarding the CR is that Searle never really defines this "semantic" property. I think you would likely agree with me that this "semantic" understanding arises from complex orders of "syntactic" information (at least in humans if nothing else). I'd have to say that including this adendum I agree with his definitions though obviously not his conclusions (that syntactic information can not yield semantic understanding).
I would have to disagree with you though that "semantic" understanding arises from symbol manipulation in and of itself. I'd have to call it "syntactic" understanding, if any sort of understanding. Unless you are implying more in your definition that isn't explicitly stated. I would agree that "semantic" understanding can develope based off of "syntactic" understanding coupled with experience (or memory, I'm not sure which term would be best suited for my usage here but experience seems to fit better for me personally).
What I mean by experience is not the instant of experience as is occurs but rather the accumulation of knowledge through experience (i.e. "Moving Finger has experience in debating"). I see memory as being static imprints of information and experience as an aggregate of memories crossreferanced.
Now "sense-experience". My example of something based on basic sensory information is only a matter of trying to simplify my point and use an "experience" common and easy to understand for us humans with sight. I focus on sensory information because, as far as we know, this is the only manner in which we humans can gather information with which to develope "experience" (with regard to my earlier definition). I do not preclude the possibility of some entity (even a human) to gather information in some other fashion with which to develope an experience and understanding of something. I only mean that the information must reach that enitity in some fashion. In the case of a blind person they have other senses by which to gather information and could possibly come to understand in some sense or another what "red" is but they will not, with out help, be able to understand the experience of "red" that those with sight possess. Here is where the problem comes in...
As I stated before the purpose of language is to communicate the thoughts in a persons head. When a person says the word "red" they generally are not refering to the particular portion of the light spectrum which coresponds to the colour red but their own personal experience of the colour red.
I think I'm tangenting a bit here. Consider this. A blind person has been described in what manner possible what the colour red is. That blind person then under goes a procedure and is endowed with vision. Based solely off of that formerly blind person's knowledge gained about the colour red while blind will that person be able to identify "red" when he/she sees it?
So with regard to your last line. Our senses are, as far as we know, our only source for gaining information. Once we have that information we have it and our senses are no longer necessary to have an understanding of that information (this in regards to the absurd argument of whether or not we still understand if put into a sensory deprivation chamber). No one has said that your eyes are the source for understanding of the colour red, nor has anyone stated that our particular sensing organs are a unique prerequisite for understanding. So please stop with this strawman.
"Meaning" would be a difficult word to pin down and I have not tried to nor will I attempt to at this juncture. I've never stated that there exists no "meaning" in the CR. I asserted that the CR, as built by Searle, does not understand the meanings of the words it is using. Perhaps a better way of stating this would be to say that the words don't mean to the CR what they mean to people who speak/read chinese.
This is yet another problem with Searle's CR. It is not feasable to produce a computer that can be indestinguishable from a person who "understands" unless it really is capable of understanding. It would not be able to hold a coherant and indestinguishable conversation otherwise.
|Oct23-05, 08:31 PM||#74|
Do you agree that a dynamic process is necessary for "understanding"?
Do you think that when a human works math problems there is a fundamental differance in the process between the human and a calculator(a normal calculator)? If so what?
Do you think "learning" would be the significant dynamic property required for "understanding" or something else?
|Oct23-05, 09:25 PM||#75|
And the thought experiment isn't called the China room, it's called the Chinese room.
Does the Chinese room possess understanding? It all depends on how you define understanding. In terms of a man understanding words, here is the definition I’ll be using:
So in this definition, understanding is to be aware of the true meaning of what is communicated. For instance, a man understanding a Chinese word denotes that he is factually aware of what the word means. It is interesting to note that this particular definition of understanding requires consciousness. The definition of consciousness I’ll be using goes as follows:
To see why (given the terms as defined here) understanding requires consciousness, we can instantiate a few characteristics:
Given this particular definition of understanding, it seems clear that the man in the Chinese room does not know a word of Chinese. What about the systems reply? That the Chinese room as a whole understands Chinese? Searle’s response works well here. Let the man internalize the room and become the system (e.g. he memorizes the rulebook). He may be able to simulate a Chinese conversation, but he still doesn’t understand the language.
Whether or not consciousness is a definitional quality of understanding depends on how you define understanding. In my definition, it certainly is the case (and I suspect the same is true for yours). In moving finger’s definition, that is (apparently) not the case.
My definition of understanding requires consciousness. Do we agree? Now please understand what I'm saying here. Do all definitions of understanding require consciousness? I'm not claiming that. Does your definition of understanding require consciousness? I'm not claiming that either. But understanding in the sense that I use it would seem to require consciousness. Do we agree? It seems that we do. So why have we been arguing about this?
You have claimed that “understanding requires consciousness” is circulus demonstrato, a tautology and a fallacious argument. But please understand what’s going on here. Is the tautology “all bachelors are unmarried” a fallacious argument and "circulus in demonstrado"? Obviously not. Analytic statements are not fallacious.
|Oct23-05, 09:47 PM||#76|
[QUOTE=moving finger]You believe that empathy comes in binary?
|Oct24-05, 12:36 AM||#77|
Then what then happens when he even later discovers it was not a jacket after all, but a brown blanket? Does he now understand?
|Oct24-05, 01:24 AM||#78|
Consider this my edit page please:
I can empathize with your "answer a question with a question" defence because it is a difficult question.
As it goes, in my part of the world, understanding is only understanding when the math or the medical info or the dialect is true information and properly learned. If it is Bulle Shiite and improperly assimilated then, even if the person understands the jumble of information in their own head, no one else will. And after some experiences with this perplexing situation, the person will realize they actually did not understand one bit of the information in their head. The person was taught mis-information and the information has led to a mis-understanding of the topic.
So my definition of understanding is begining to include these elements:
QuantumCarl's guide to Understanding
Correct (true) information
Experience (of that information)
Empathy (of the information)
Consciousness (of all of the above)
Welcome Tisthammerw you have raised some good points. I think the Chinese Room experiment has bit off more than it can chew with regards to the definition of "understanding".
I agree that its definition belongs in the realm of relative semantics however, this discussion has and can continue, in my view, to bring the many uses of the word a little closer together. As I've always stated, terminology exists because professionals need terms that identify origin and function. Words that offer a clear picture of what they describe also offer sound progress and swift decision in the increasingly murky milue of mankind. Thanks!
|Oct24-05, 01:32 AM||#79|
If you are saying that the CR cannot have semantic understanding *by definition” then the entire CR argument becomes fallacious (circulus in demonstrando).
I agree information and knowledge are also required – I assumed this as a given but can state it explicitly if it helps. “Memory” and “experience” are simply particular (anthropocentric) forms of information and knowledge.
I dispute that “experiencing seeing red” necessarily endows an “understanding” of red, or that an agent which cannot experience red cannot therefore understand red. Just as the experience of flying does not endow an understanding of flying, and an agent which cannot fly can nevertheless understand flight.
If I instead say the word “X-ray” (another part of the electromagnetic spectrum), are you then saying that I do not understand what the word means because I have no sense-experience of seeing X-rays?
My understanding of red, and my understanding of X-ray, arise from the information and knowledge that I possess which allows me to put these concepts into rational contextual relationships with other concepts to derive meaning – in other words semantics. I may be blind, but I can understand red just as much as I can understand X-ray.
Understanding is a process that takes place within the brain (or brain equivalent) when it processes information and knowledge in a particular way.
I can assert anything I wish, but in absence of rational and logical argument that is simply my opinion.
You and I do not share “perfect definitions of all the words we use” (we dispute some meanings of words in this thread), but that does not entitle either of us to accuse the other of not understanding English.
May your God go with you
|Oct24-05, 01:35 AM||#80|
One more note:
I've noticed that no one, other than myself, has broken down the word understanding into its two roots
Imagine who came up with this word and what it represented to them when they brought these two roots together.
|Oct24-05, 01:46 AM||#81|
May your God go with you
|Oct24-05, 02:37 AM||#82|
“degrees of understanding” means “two agents can understand subject X, yet one agent may have more understanding of X than the other”.
Consider the statement “Agent A possess more understanding of subject X than does Agent B, and yet both agents still possess some understanding of subject X”. These are “degrees of understanding”. Quantumcarl’s philosophy would seem to be that the above statement is necessarily false (ie the situation described is impossible).
“True information”? What is that? Does QC possess true information, or does QC just think/believe that QC does? How would QC find out?
A) When QC saw the bear, did he possess true information?
B) When QC realised it was a jacket and not a bear, did he now possess true information?
C) When quantumcarl QC realised it was a blanket and not a jacket, did he now possess true information?
All we can ever possess is epistemic information. We may try to infer ontically from this, but we never have direct access to ontic information. Thus the best we can ever achieve is to “believe that we have true information”. In each case of A, B and C above, QC believed (at the time) that it possessed true information.
If QC insists that QC must possess true information in order to understand (as opposed to simply believing that QC possesses true information) then QC will never be able to demonstrate that QC understands, because QC will never be able to demonstrate unequivocally and objectively that QC possesses true information.
If QC is unable to prove that QC possesses true information, does it follow that QC does not understand anything?
May your God go with you
|Oct24-05, 03:42 AM||#83|
Now allow me to summarise the fundamental problem as I see it.
Take the conditional statement :
IF consciousness is necessary for understanding THEN it follows that an agent which does not possess consciousness also does not possess understanding.
I hope that everyone here agrees with this statement?
The question that remains to be answered is then : Is consciousness necessary for understanding?
How do we tackle this problem?
First, to construct an argument, we need to state our premises.
We might DEFINE UNDERSTANDING such that understanding requires consciousness. Since in this case we have not SHOWN that understanding requires consciousness, but instead we have DEFINED understanding this way, this definition then becomes one of our premises.
What this gives us is then :
1 Premise : We define understanding such that it requires consciousness
2 IF consciousness is necessary for understanding THEN it follows that an agent which does not possess consciousness also does not possess understanding.
3 Consciousness is necessary for understanding (from Premise 1)
4 Hence an agent which does not possess consciousness also does not possess understanding (from 2,3)
The above argument is an example of “circulus in demonstrando”, ie we have assumed what we wish to prove (that consciousness is necessary for understanding) in our premises, and (though the logic of the argument is perfect) it is a fallacious argument.
The statement “understanding requires consciousness” is also a premise.
I said the ARGUMENT is fallacious. Do you understand the difference between an argument and a statement and a premise?
We seem to disagree on whether the following ARGUMENT is fallacious or not :
“we take as a premise that understanding requires consciousness, it follows that a non-conscious agent is unable to understand”
This argument is a perfect example of “circulus in demonstrando”, ie the conclusion of the argument is already assumed in the premises, which is accepted in logic as being a fallacious argument.
Let me repeat again :
The following argument is an example of “circulus in demonstrando”, and is fallacious :
“we take as a premise that understanding requires consciousness, it follows that a non-conscious agent is unable to understand”
“all bachelors are unmarried” is not necessarily an argument. It could be a statement or a premise, or both.
To construct an argument we first need to state our premises, then we draw inferences from those premises, then we make a conclusion from the inferences and premises.
Let's do this.
First one must define what one means by the terms “bachelor”, and “unmarried”. (you may object "this is obvious", but that is beside the point. Strictly all terms in an argument must be clearly defined and agreed).
These definitions then become part of the premises to the argument.
If the conclusion of the argument is already contained in the premises, then by definition the argument is fallacious, by “circulus in demonstrando”.
For example :
"we take as a premise that "bachelor" is defined as an "unmarried male", it follows that the statement "all bachelors are unmarried" is true"
The above argument is completely logical, but fallacious due to “circulus in demonstrando”
Check it out yourself in any good book on logic, if you don’t believe me.
May your God go with you
|Oct24-05, 03:56 AM||#84|
Do we all (MF, Tournesol and Tisthammerw) agree that the following statement is true?
“whether or not consciousness is necessary for understanding is a matter of definition”
True or false?
(ps MF says imho it is true)
|Oct24-05, 08:44 AM||#85|
I am conscious that our debate often gets so convoluted that we maybe lose sight of exactly what the issues are that we are debating.
Just to be sure that I properly understand (or should that be comprehend?) your position, and to make sure that I am not attacking something that is simply in my imagination, could you please examine the following statement :
Statement : "It is the case that a human being EITHER has complete understanding of the subject X, OR has no understanding of the subject X - there are NO "shades of grey" whereby a human being might have a partial understanding of the subject X."
(subject X could be the French language, for example)
Would quantumcarl agree that the above statement (according to quantumcarl's defininition of understanding) is true, or false?
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