Last Update: 29 June 2004
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Abstract: A theory of "syntactic semantics" is advocated 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, 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 can suffice for the semantical enterprise. (2) Semantics, as the process of understanding one domain modeled 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.