Searle vs Pinker

Searle vs Pinker correspondence at New York Review
Good reference list too.
Debated on
Oh no I didn’t. Oh yes you did. Pity to see another binary argument. Can’t get logged on to enter the debate, however the disagreement is 80% about representation of each others thoughts, not about the actual philosophy being debated. Both agree 100% on …
Pinker : “words and rules are necessary for understanding but not sufficient.”
Searle : “words and rules are never enough to determine interpretation, not even in the simplest cases”
The other unnecessary binary argument …
“There are brute, blind neurophysiological processes and there is consciousness,” Searle wrote, “but there is nothing else.” He also goes on to say “I have never relied on common sense [Searles emphasis]. I appeal to a logical distinction between the syntax of the implemented program and the semantics of actual human understanding, and the thought experiment in question is designed to illustrate the distinction between the syntax and the semantics. I am not sure I know what “common sense” is, but I doubt that it contains theories about the distinction between syntax and semantics.”
Surely common sense and experience remains a good test of deductive reasoning, even if not a sound basis of inductive logic. Cognitive “science” may deserve a bad name if it insists on the rationale of scientific method (Bacon), and fails to suspend disbelief in common experience (Feynman). We are talking about the human mind, a social “science” here – as with anthropology (Pirsig) and ethnography (Walsham), the rules of scientific method need not be presumed to address the whole problem. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater ?

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