The Difficulties in Symbol Grounding Problem and the Direction for Solving It

Philosophies 7 (5):108 (2022)
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The symbol grounding problem proposed by Stevan Harnad in 1990, originates from Searle’s “Chinese Room Argument” and refers to the problem of how a pure symbolic system acquires its meaning. While many solutions to this problem have been proposed, all of them have encountered inconsistencies to different extents. A recent approach for resolving the problem is to divide the SGP into hard and easy problems echoing the distinction between hard and easy problems for resolving the enigma of consciousness. This however turns out not to be an ideal strategy: Everything related to consciousness that cannot be well-explained by present theories can be categorized as a hard problem which as a consequence would doom the SGP to irresolvability. We therefore argue that the SGP can be regarded as a general problem of how an AI system can have intentionality, and develop a theoretical direction for its solution.



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Jianhui Li
Beijing Normal University
Haohao Mao
Beijing Normal University

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Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
A Mark of the Mental: In Defense of Informational Teleosemantics.Gary Ostertag - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):628-631.

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