1. Reconstruct and evaluate Searle’s Chinese room argument in the form of an argument from analogy. Be sure to state his conclusion as precisely as you can.
2. Is Searle’s analogy undermined by the fact that computers are much faster than any person in a Chinese room? Why or why not?
3. Could any future developments of more sophisticated computers (such as computers that can reprogram themselves) undermine Searle’s argument? Why or why not?
4. Could any future discoveries about how the brain works (such as that brains work just like computers) undermine Searle’s argument? Why or why not?
5. Searle admits that, in a “trivial sense brains, like everything else, are digital computers.” Does this admission weaken his argument? Why or why not?
6. Some defenders of strong AI respond that, even if the person in the Chinese room does not understand Chinese, the system consisting of the person, room, and manual together does understand Chinese. Is this “systems reply” plausible? Why or why not?
7. Some opponents reply that Searle’s Chinese room would have under- standing if it had arms and legs so that it could move around as well as a television camera so that it could perceive its environment. Is this “robot reply” plausible? Why or why not?
8. Some critics charge that, given Searle’s requirements, we cannot know whether other people have minds, because we cannot see whether they mean anything by the symbols they put out. Is Searle really committed to such a skeptical view? Why or why not?
9. Suppose that a friend of yours for many years is seriously injured in an accident and the doctors discover that she is made from wires, transistors, and so on. Would this be sufficient to show that your “friend” never really thought or felt anything? Why or why not?