more from David J.Chalmers

Single Idea 2428

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 7. Chinese Room]

Full Idea

Opponents typically reply to Searle's argument by conceding that the person in the room does not understand Chinese, and arguing that the understanding should instead be attributed to the system consisting of the person and the pieces of paper.

Gist of Idea

Maybe the whole Chinese Room understands Chinese, though the person doesn't


David J.Chalmers (The Conscious Mind [1996], 4.9.4)

Book Reference

Chalmers,David J.: 'The Conscious Mind' [OUP 1997], p.323

A Reaction

Searle himself spotted this reply. It seems plausible to say that a book contains 'understanding', so the translation dictionary may have it. A good Room would cope with surprise questions.