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Chinese Rooms and Program Portability

Mark D. Sprevak
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Dec., 2007), pp. 755-776
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30115172
Page Count: 22
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Chinese Rooms and Program Portability
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Abstract

I argue in this article that there is a mistake in Searle's Chinese room argument that has not received sufficient attention. The mistake stems from Searle's use of the Church-Turing thesis. Searle assumes that the Church-Turing thesis licences the assumption that the Chinese room can run any program. I argue that it does not, and that this assumption is false. A number of possible objections are considered and rejected. My conclusion is that it is consistent with Searle's argument to hold onto the claim that understanding consists in the running of a program.

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