I agree with functionalists, specifically the strong Artificial Intelligence (AI) camp, concerning the concept of understanding. While John Searle poses a strong non-functionalist case in his AChinese Room@ argument, I find that his definition of Ato understand@ falls short and hampers his point. I criticize his defense that understanding rests on a standardized knowledge of meaning, but not before outlining the general background of the issue.
Functionalists define thought and mental states in
showed first 75 words of 1833 total
showed last 75 words of 1833 total
standard meaning of Chinese symbols in order to understand them. The functionalist view allows for individual interpretation, individual creation of meaning. Granted, this provides a very open and broad definition of Ato understand@; it soon becomes attributed not in terms of whether a system does or does not understand, but rather how and how much it understands. As fresh as that may seem, if it is how humans function, we must recognize it as so.