Study Questions for Searle’s “Minds, Brains, and Programs”



1.     What is the difference between Strong and Weak AI? How does he define each of them? To which is Searle objecting?

2.     Whose work does Searle consider in this article? What other programs does he mention?

3.     What is Searle’s example to describe these works of AI? What are the claims partisans of strong AI make about these examples?

4.     What is the Chinese Room thought experiment? Describe it in details! What is it designed to show?

5.     How is the Chinese Room thought experiment is related to the Turing Test and particularly to the consciousness objection to the Turing Test?

6.     What is the Systems Reply, and how does Searle respond to it?  Is his reply convincing?

7.     What is the Robot Reply? What deficiency of computers does the Robot Reply aim to solve? How does Searle answer this objection?

8.     What is the Brain Simulator Reply?  How does Searle reply?

9.     What is Searle’s reaction to the Other Minds Reply? How does it connect to Turing’s argument?

10. Searle claims that the reason we should attribute intentionality to animals, and not to robots that exhibit the same kind of behavior, is that "we can see that the beasts are made of stuff similar to our own".  Why should this matter? Searle says:  "perhaps, for example, Martians also have intentionality, but their brains are made of different stuff.  That is an empirical question, rather like the question whether photosynthesis can be done by something with a chemistry different from that of chlorophyll."  Is he right that this would be a straightforward empirical question?



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