John Searle–Strong AI & The Chinese Room Argument

The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle to challenge the claim that it is possible for a computer running a program to have a “mind” and “consciousness,” in the same sense that people do, simply by virtue of running the right program. The experiment is intended to help refute a philosophical position that Searle named “Strong AI”:

“The appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds.” To contest this view, Searle writes in his first description of the argument: “Suppose that I’m locked in a room and … that I know no Chinese, either written or spoken”. He further supposes that he has a set of rules in English that “enable me to correlate one set of formal symbols with another set of formal symbols”, that is, the Chinese characters. These rules allow him to respond, in written Chinese, to questions, also written in Chinese, in such a way that the posers of the questions – who do understand Chinese – are convinced that Searle can actually understand the Chinese conversation too, even though he cannot. Similarly, he argues that if there is a computer program that allows a computer to carry on an intelligent conversation in a written language, the computer executing the program would not understand the conversation either. (from -> Wikipedia)



Strong Artificial Intelligence

Click here to access the audio presentation of:

                            ==> 03 – Strong Artificial Intelligence

            Click here for the ==> Strong AI-Outline.

                       Click here for the ==> Strong AI Full Transcipt      



The Chinese Room Argument

 Click here for a full transcription of ==> The Chinese Room & Its Critics lecture .

Click this link for the Audio Presentation of ==> 04 – The Chinese Room Argument and Its Critics.


An additional chapter to the argument above can be seen in the video below as Oxford philosopher Luciano Floridi extends the Chinese Room giving it further support. I have edited the presentation to begin with Floridi’s part but the whole of the video can be viewed on the You Tube site.

A Discussion of Artificial Intelligence with John Searle and → Luciano Floridi 

The 4th Revolution: How The Infosphere is Reshaping Reality



An Engineer at Google gets fired for making false claims that an AI system had been built which has human sentience. Click here on → The Verge to see their article on the story.

Some may wonder what, if anything, any of this has to do with CS Lewis? If so we would invite you to ponder this page ==>  Abolition of Man.


I would like to point out that since Dr Searle is a proponent of Biological Naturalismboth distinct from this view, and as as a Christian believer in Christ, I personally subscribe to a Dualist view of mind  more consistent with an Aristotilian/Thomistic view of Mind, an open ended affair which allows for both the kind of Spiritual Realities and Moral Truths which stand at the Heart of the Christian outlook.

If you follow the previous, “Dualist view of the Mind,” link above, and reference the-Historical Overviewsection down through-and including the–From Neoplatonism to scholasticism–section, a more detailed study of this position may be made. For those of us who would like a more extensive study of Gnosticism, along with why it was such a problem for the early Church along with how it has resurfaced in the contemporary, I would like to direct your attention to our => Gnosticism and the Technologies of Our World pageOn this page you will find hot links embedded toward the bottom of the page that can take you to Dr. R.C. Sproul’s and Dr. Art Walters’ lectures on Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism. As an aid to promote a more meditative study of this problem, full transcripts of the lectures are also available which have been also hot linked alongside the audio files.


Was Thomas a Dualist Pic

If you click on this PDF’d hotlink: Was Thomas a Duelist, you will find Edward Feser’s opening statement in response to this question which I abstracted from his blogspot. Apparently this article has been removed from the site, but if you follow this ==> hot link it will take you to the web page at which the this question along with the question and response discussion which follows the question can be traced out. Finally, here is Dr. Feser’s blog statement which argues why John Searle is a Property Dualaist.





For those of us who would like to learn more about ideas presupposed in the lecture above, and of the kind of philosophical materialism that it entails refer to the hotlinks below . Included in the discussion are the concepts of: multiple realizably, supervenience , functionalism, as well as the concepts of metaphysical possibility & impossibility.

I have embedded the following PDF file titled ==> Materialism  which I took from his book Philosophy of Mind, which will help in learning more about this subject which you can get to by simply clicking on the hotlink embedded in the title above. You can also find his book listed on our bookshelf. I have included a  couple of hotlinks here which maybe helpful to reference some of the terms and definitions used in both John Searle’s Strong AI and Chinese Room Argument lectures, as well as the Materialism reading. 

As an addendum to the Materialism reading above, you may want to ponder what William A. Dembski writes in his concluding remarks If Not Machines . . . in his chapter Kurzweil’s Impoverished Spirituality.



≅ ≈ ≡ ≅ ≡ ∈ ¤ ∋ ≡ ≅ ≡ ≈ ≅




What will the year 2084 hold for you–for your friends, for your family, and for our society? Are we doomed to the grim dystopia imagined in George Orwell’s 1984?

In 2084, scientist and philosopher John Lennox will introduce you to a kaleidoscope of ideas: the key developments in technological enhancement, bioengineering, and, in particular, artificial intelligence. You will discover the current capacity of AI, its advantages and disadvantages, the facts and the fiction, as well as potential future implications.

The questions posed by AI are open to all of us. And they demand answers. A book that is written to challenge all readers, no matter your worldview, 2084 shows how the Christian worldview, properly understood, can provide evidence-based, credible answers that will bring you real hope for the future of humanity.

An Amazon Link2084



I would just like to add that since it is notoriously difficult to keep track (it is for me at any rate) of the bewildering variety of ways some of the terms are used in this field of study, I thought it fitting to place a couple of dictionaries for your convenience. The first hot link will take you to the glossary taken from Ed Feser’s book the => Philosophy of Mind.

Philosophy of Mind Glossary.

Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

 Finally, here’s a link to Encyclopedia Britannica’s Materialism article.


I would like to invite anyone that may be intrested, to partake in a rather unusual thought experiment. If you’ve read the chapter on Materialism linked above, you may have noticed . . . [and if you haven’t you may want to refence it in order to get the gist of it for the experiment] . . .  toward the bottom of page 72 {4th line up from the bottom}, an interesting question posed by the writer when he asks,  “If you saw Data faliling around on the ground, shriking, and sobbing and holding his side after having been shot with a ray gun, wouldn’t you try to help him?” I would admit this appears to be a rather silly question, but on an emotional level, is it really? One would likely respond, as I, (at least initially) “don’t be silly, of course not!”

Now, for the experiment. View this ==> YouTube asking yourself again as you attempt to be as honest with yourself as you can possibly allow yourself to be.

Questions: What was your emotional response at seeing the dog being kicked (?), and how did you feel when you saw the tall four legged scrambling around as it was attempting to recover a balance?

♦ ———- ♦ ———- ♦ ———- ♦ ———– ♦  ———- ♦

Noam Chomsky on the idea of The Singularity







Transhumanism and The Military

The Rise of Supersoldiers – How AI Changes Everything



Below is a presentation with a bit of a more sober turn?


To facilitate an understanding of the issues that revolve around Strong AI; and to try and understand more precisely what it is that proponents of this view, who argue that computer intelligences will soon surpass human intelligence, are really trying to say, I thought it might be instructive to post an exchange of two of the leading proponents on these competing perspectives debating one another which occured between Ray Kurzweil and John Searle.  For those who would be interested in reading about this exchange of ideas click on the links below and PDF files will open for your perusal. This exchange was taken from the book, Are We Spiritual Machines, which was published by the Discovery Institute in 2002. If you follow the hot link at the bottom of the page you will arrive at an Amazon page where more: information, reviews and order information for the book from which these scans were taken can be found.


SearleClick Here to read John Searle’s argument in opposition to Strong Artificial Intelligence titled:

==>I Married A Computer.



                                            Ray Kurzweil

Click Here to read Ray Kurzweil’s response to Searle’s position titled

==> Locked In His Chinese Room.


To place us within an imaginary grasp of what Ray Kurzweil is suggesting I thought it might be helpful to consider a quote from William Grassie as he in turn is found quoting Bill Bryson as he gives a description of ==> a simple prokaryotic cell from his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.


Ted Peters: Transhumanism and the Posthuman Future


          ♦ == ♦ == ♦ == ♦ == ♦ 

     Follow the Amazon Link Below the Picture for More Information

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An Amazon Link

 ==> Are We Spiritual Machines? 

Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. <==

Computers are becoming more powerful at an ever-increasing rate, but will they ever become conscious? Artificial intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil thinks so and explains how we will “download” our software (our minds) and “upgrade” our hardware (our bodies) to become immortal — before the dawn of the 22nd century. In this debate with his critics, including several Discovery Institute Fellows, Kurzweil defends his views and sets the stage for the central question: “What does it mean to be human?”


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