Monday, December 11, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

John Searle


Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, and is noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and consciousness, on the characteristics of socially constructed versus physical realities, and on practical reason.
John Searle
I will argue that in the literal sense the programmed computer understands what the car and the adding machine understand, namely, exactly nothing.
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The sense in which an automatic door "understands instructions" from its photoelectric cell is not at all the sense in which I understand English.
Searle
Where conscious subjectivity is concerned, there is no distinction between the observation and the thing observed.




Searle John quotes
In many cases it is a matter for decision and not a simple matter of fact whether x understands y; and so on.
Searle John
There is probably no more abused a term in the history of philosophy than “representation,” and my use of this term differs both from its use in traditional philosophy and from its use in contemporary cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence.... The sense of “representation” in question is meant to be entirely exhausted by the analogy with speech acts: the sense of “represent” in which a belief represents its conditions of satisfaction is the same sense in which a statement represents its conditions of satisfaction. To say that a belief is a representation is simply to say that it has a propositional content and a psychological mode.
John Searle quotes
You need to know enough philosophy so that the methods of logical analysis are available to you to be used as a tool. One of the most depressing things about educated people today is that so few of them, even among professional intellectuals, are able to follow the steps of a simple logical argument.
John Searle
Our tools are extensions of our purposes, and so we find it natural to make metaphorical attributions of intentionality to them; but I take it no philosophical ice is cut by such examples.
Searle John quotes
I cannot recall a time when American education was not in a "crisis." We have lived through Sputnik (when we were "falling behind the Russians"), through the era of "Johnny can't read," and through the upheavals of the Sixties. Now a good many books are telling us that the university is going to hell in several different directions at once. I believe that, at least in part, the crisis rhetoric has a structural explanation: since we do not have a national consensus on what success in higher education would consist of, no matter what happens, some sizable part of the population is going to regard the situation as a disaster. As with taxation and relations between the sexes, higher education is essentially and continuously contested territory. Given the history of that crisis rhetoric, one's natural response to the current cries of desperation might reasonably be one of boredom.
Searle
Well, what does “good” mean anyway...? As Wittgenstein suggested, “good,” like “game,” has a family of meanings. Prominent among them is this one: “meets the criteria or standards of assessment or evaluation.”
Searle John
Just acquiring this amount of "education" will not, by itself, make you an educated person, even less will it give you what Oakeshott calls "judgment." But if the manner of instruction is adequate, the student should be able to acquire this much knowledge in a way that combines intellectual openness, critical scrutiny, and logical clarity. If so, learning will not stop when the student leaves the university.
John Searle
It seems to me obvious that infants and many animals that do not in any ordinary sense have a language or perform speech acts nonetheless have Intentional states. Only someone in the grip of a philosophical theory would deny that small babies can literally be said to want milk and that dogs want to be let out or believe that their master is at the door.




John Searle quotes
An utterance can have Intentionality, just as a belief has Intentionality, but whereas the Intentionality of the belief is intrinsic the Intentionality of the utterance is derived.
John Searle
In the performance of an illocutionary act in the literal utterance of a sentence, the speaker intends to produce a certain effect by means of getting the hearer to recognize his intention to produce that effect; and furthermore, if he is using the words literally, he intends this recognition to be achieved in virtue of the fact that the rules for using the expressions he utters associate the expression with the production of that effect.
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The ascription of an unconscious intentional phenomenon to a system implies that the phenomenon is in principle accessible to consciousness.
Searle John
Where questions of style and exposition are concerned I try to follow a simple maxim: if you can’t say it clearly you don’t understand it yourself.
Searle John quotes
You need to know enough of the natural sciences so that you are not a stranger in the world.
John Searle
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to acquire the skills of writing and speaking that make for candor, rigor, and clarity. You cannot think clearly if you cannot speak and write clearly.
John Searle quotes
The Intentionality of the mind not only creates the possibility of meaning, but limits its forms.
John Searle
The problem posed by indirect speech acts is the problem of how it is possible for the speaker to say one thing and mean that but also to mean something else.
Searle John
It is apparently very congenial for some people who are professionally concerned with fictional texts to be told that all texts are really fictional anyway, and that claims that fiction differs significantly from science and philosophy can be deconstructed as a logocentric prejudice, and it seems positively exhilarating to be told that what we call "reality" is just more textuality. Furthermore, the lives of such people are made much easier than they had previously supposed, because now they don't have to worry about an author's intentions, about precisely what a text means, or about distinctions within a text between the metaphorical and the literal, or about the distinction between texts and the world because everything is just a free play of signifiers. The upper limit, and I believe the reductio ad absurdum, of this "sense of mastery" conveyed by deconstruction, is in Geoffrey Hartman's claim that the prime creative task has now passed from the literary artist to the critic.


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