Minds and Machines

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 179–202

Descartes Among the Robots

Computer Science and the Inner/Outer Distinction

DOI: 10.1007/s11023-011-9232-4

Cite this article as:
White, G. Minds & Machines (2011) 21: 179. doi:10.1007/s11023-011-9232-4


We consider the symbol grounding problem, and apply to it philosophical arguments against Cartesianism developed by Sellars and McDowell: the problematic issue is the dichotomy between inside and outside which the definition of a physical symbol system presupposes. Surprisingly, one can question this dichotomy and still do symbolic computation: a detailed examination of the hardware and software of serial ports shows this.


Physical symbol system Grounding problem Inner/outer Cartesianism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Electronic Engineering and Computer ScienceQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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