Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 467–490

How to Pass a Turing Test

  • William J. Rapaport

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008319409770

Cite this article as:
Rapaport, W.J. Journal of Logic, Language and Information (2000) 9: 467. doi:10.1023/A:1008319409770


I advocate a theory of “syntactic semantics” as a way of understanding how computers can think (and how the Chinese-Room-Argument objection to the Turing Test can be overcome): (1) Semantics, considered as the study of relations between symbols and meanings, can be turned into syntax – a study of relations among symbols (including meanings) – and hence syntax (i.e., symbol manipulation) can suffice for the semantical enterprise (contra Searle). (2) Semantics, considered as the process of understanding one domain (by modeling it) in terms of another, can be viewed recursively: The base case of semantic understanding –understanding a domain in terms of itself – is “syntactic understanding.” (3) An internal (or “narrow”), first-person point of view makes an external (or “wide”), third-person point of view otiose for purposes of understanding cognition.

Chinese-Room Argument first-person point of view internalism methodological solipsism problem of other minds representative realism rules and representations semantic network semantics SNePS syntax Turing Test 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Rapaport
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Department of Philosophy, and Center for Cognitive ScienceState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloU.S.A.

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