What's Wrong and Right About Searle's Chinese Room Argument?

Harnad, Stevan (2001) What's Wrong and Right About Searle's Chinese Room Argument? [Book Chapter] (In Press)


There is a more recent version of this eprint available. Click here to view it.

Full text available as:



Searle's Chinese Room Argument showed a fatal flaw in computationalism (the idea that mental states are just computational states) and helped usher in the era of situated robotics and symbol grounding (although Searle himself thought neuroscience was the only correct way to understand the mind).

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:Searle, Chinese Room Argument, Turing Test, Symbol Grounding, computationalism, cognitivism, robotics, language functionalism, neuroscience
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Artificial Intelligence
Computer Science > Robotics
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:1622
Deposited By:Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:19 Jun 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

Available Versions of this Item

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Cangelosi, A. & Harnad, S. (2000) The Adaptive Advantage of Symbolic Theft Over Sensorimotor

Toil: Grounding Language in Perceptual Categories. Evolution of Communication (Special Issue on


Churchland, P.A. (1990) Could a machine think? Scientific American 262: 32 - 37.

Dietrich, E. (1990) Computationalism. Social Epistemology 4: 135 - 154.

Fodor, J. A. (1975) The language of thought New York: Thomas Y. Crowell

Fodor, J. A. & Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1988) Connectionism and cognitive architecture: A critical appraisal.

Cognition. 28: 3 - 71.

Greco, A., Cangelosi, A., & Harnad, S. (2000) A Connectionist Model for Categorical Perception and

Symbol Grounding. Connection Science.

Harnad, S. (1982a) Neoconstructivism: A unifying theme for the cognitive sciences. In: Language,

mind and brain (T. Simon & R. Scholes, eds., Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum), 1 - 11.

Harnad, S. (1982b) Consciousness: An afterthought. Cognition and Brain Theory 5: 29 - 47.

Harnad, S. (ed.) (1987) Categorical Perception: The Groundwork of Cognition. New York: Cambridge

University Press.

Harnad, S. (1989) Minds, Machines and Searle. Journal of Theoretical and Experimental Artificial

Intelligence 1: 5-25.

Harnad, S. (1990a) The Symbol Grounding Problem. Physica D 42: 335-346.

Harnad, S. (1990b) Against Computational Hermeneutics. (Invited commentary on Eric Dietrich's

Computationalism) Social Epistemology 4: 167-172.

Harnad, S. (1990c) Lost in the hermeneutic hall of mirrors. Invited Commentary on: Michael Dyer:

Minds, Machines, Searle and Harnad. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 2:

321 - 327.

Harnad, S. (1990d) Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication Continuum of Scientific Inquiry.

Psychological Science 1: 342 - 343 (reprinted in Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991).

Harnad, S. (1991a) Other bodies, Other minds: A machine incarnation of an old philosophical problem.

Minds and Machines 1: 43-54.

Harnad, S. (1991b) Post-Gutenberg Galaxy: The Fourth Revolution in the Means of Production of

Knowledge. Public-Access Computer Systems Review 2 (1): 39 - 53

Harnad, S. (1992) The Turing Test Is Not A Trick: Turing Indistinguishability Is A Scientific Criterion.

SIGART Bulletin 3(4) (October) 9 - 10.

Harnad, S. (1993) Artificial Life: Synthetic Versus Virtual. Artificial Life III. Proceedings, Santa Fe

Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity. Volume XVI.

Harnad, S. (1994a) Levels of Functional Equivalence in Reverse Bioengineering: The Darwinian

Turing Test for Artificial Life. Artificial Life 1(3): 293-301. Reprinted in: C.G. Langton (Ed.). Artifial

Life: An Overview. MIT Press 1995.

Harnad, S. (1994b) Computation Is Just Interpretable Symbol Manipulation: Cognition Isn't. Special

Issue on "What Is Computation" Minds and Machines 4:379-390

Harnad, S. (1995b) Why and How We Are Not Zombies. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1:


Harnad, S. (1996) The Origin of Words: A Psychophysical Hypothesis In Velichkovsky B &

Rumbaugh, D. (Eds.) "Communicating Meaning: Evolution and Development of Language. NJ:

Erlbaum: pp 27-44.

Harnad, S. (2000) Turing Indistinguishability and the Blind Watchmaker. In: Mulhauser, G. (ed.)

"Evolving Consciousness" Amsterdam: John Benjamins (in press)

Harnad, S. (2001) Turing on Reverse-Engineering the Mind. Journal of Logic, Language, and

Information (JoLLI) special issue on "Alan Turing and Artificial Intelligence" (in press)

Harnad, S. Hanson, S.J. & Lubin, J. (1995) Learned Categorical Perception in Neural Nets:

Implications for Symbol Grounding. In: V. Honavar & L. Uhr (eds) Symbol Processors and

Connectionist Network Models in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Modelling: Steps Toward

Principled Integration. Academic Press. pp. 191-206.

Harnad, S., Steklis, H. D. & Lancaster, J. B. (eds.) (1976) Origins and Evolution of Language and

Speech. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 280.

Hayes, P., Harnad, S., Perlis, D. & Block, N. (1992) Virtual Symposium on Virtual Mind. Minds and

Machines 2: 217-238.

Heyes, C. M. (1998). Theory of mind in nonhuman primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):


Hexter, J. H. (1979) Reappraisals in History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lucas, J. R. (1961) Minds, machines and Goedel. Philosophy 36: 112-117.

Lucas, M.M. & Hayes, P.J. (Eds.) (1982) Proceedings of the Cognitive Curriculum Conference.

University of Rochester.

Newell, A. (1980) Physical Symbol Systems. Cognitive Science 4: 135 - 83.

Luria, A. R. (1972) The Man with a Shattered World. NY: Basic Books

Premack, D. & Woodruff, G. 1978. "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?" Behavioral &

Brain Sciences 1: 515-526.

Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1980) Computation and cognition: Issues in the foundations of cognitive science.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3: 111-169.

Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1984) Computation and cognition. Cambridge MA: MIT/Bradford

Pylyshyn, Z. W. (Ed.) (1987) The robot's dilemma: The frame problem in artificial intelligence.

Norwood NJ: Ablex

Searle, John. R. (1980a) Minds, brains, and programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3): 417-457

Searle, John. R. (1980b) Intrinsic Intentionality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3:

Searle, John. R. (1982) The Chinese Room Revisited. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 5:

Searle, John R. (1984) Minds, brains, and science / John Searle. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard

University Press.

Searle, John. R. (1987) Minds and Brains without Programs," Mindwaves, C. Blakemore & S.

Greenfield (eds.), Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Searle, John R. (1990a) Explanatory inversion and cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences

13: 585-595.

Searle, John. R. (1990b) Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program?", Scientific American, January


Steklis, H.D. & Harnad, S. (1976) From hand to mouth: Some critical stages in the evolution of

language. In: Harnad et al. 1976, 445 - 455.

Turing, A.M. (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 49 433-460 [Reprinted in Minds

and machines. A. Anderson (ed.), Engelwood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall, 1964.]

Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical investigations. New York: Macmillan


Repository Staff Only: item control page