How to Pass a Turing Test
and Escape from the Chinese Room

William J. Rapaport

Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
Department of Philosophy,
and Center for Cognitive Science
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260-2000

Last Update: 29 October 2007

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

  1. Slide shows:

  2. Background reading on syntax vs. semantics:

  3. Rapaport's writings on the Chinese Room and syntactic semantics:

    1. Rapaport, William J. (1985), "Machine Understanding and Data Abstraction in Searle's Chinese Room", Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (University of California at Irvine) (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates): 341-345.

    2. Rapaport, William J. (1986), "Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and the Chinese-Room Argument", Abacus: The Magazine for the Computer Professional 3 (Summer 1986) 6-17; correspondence, Abacus 4 (Winter 1987) 6-7, Abacus 4 (Spring 1987) 5-7.

    3. Rapaport, William J. (1986), "Searle's Experiments with Thought", Philosophy of Science 53: 271-279.

    4. Rapaport, William J. (1988), "To Think or Not To Think", Noûs 22: 585-609.

    5. Rapaport, William J. (1988), "Syntactic Semantics: Foundations of Computational Natural-Language Understanding", in James H. Fetzer (ed.), Aspects of Artificial Intelligence (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers): 81-131.

    6. Rapaport, William J. (1990), "Computer Processes and Virtual Persons: Comments on Cole's "Artificial Intelligence and Personal Identity" ", Technical Report 90-13 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Department of Computer Science).

    7. Rapaport, William J. (1993), "Because Mere Calculating Isn't Thinking: Comments on Hauser's "Why Isn't My Pocket Calculator a Thinking Thing?" ", Minds and Machines 3: 11-20.

    8. Rapaport, William J. (1995), "Understanding Understanding: Syntactic Semantics and Computational Cognition", in James E. Tomberlin (ed.), AI, Connectionism, and Philosophical Psychology, Philosophical Perspectives Vol. 9 (Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview): 49-88.

      • Reprinted in Toribio, Josefa, & Clark, Andy (eds.) (1998), Language and Meaning in Cognitive Science: Cognitive Issues and Semantic Theory, Vol. 4 of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science: Conceptual Issues (New York: Garland): 73-88.

    9. Rapaport, William J. (1996), Understanding Understanding: Semantics, Computation, and Cognition, Technical Report 96-26 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Department of Computer Science).

    10. Rapaport, William J. (1999), "Implementation Is Semantic Interpretation", The Monist 82: 109-130.

    11. Rapaport, William J. (2000), "How to Pass a Turing Test: Syntactic Semantics, Natural-Language Understanding, and First-Person Cognition", Special Issue on Alan Turing and Artificial Intelligence, Journal of Logic, Language, and Information 9(4): 467-490.

      • Reprinted in James H. Moor (ed.), The Turing Test: The Elusive Standard of Artificial Intelligence (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003): 161-184.

      • This is the paper that the slides above are based on.

    12. Rapaport, William J. (2002), "Holism, Conceptual-Role Semantics, and Syntactic Semantics", Minds and Machines 12(1): 3-59.

    13. Rapaport, William J. (2003), "What Did You Mean by That? Misunderstanding, Negotiation, and Syntactic Semantics", Minds and Machines 13(3): 397-427.

    14. Rapaport, William J. (2005), "Implementation Is Semantic Interpretation: Further Thoughts", Special Issue on Theoretical Cognitive Science, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 17(4; December): 385-417.

    15. Rapaport, William J. (2006), Review of John Preston & Mark Bishop (eds.), Views into the Chinese Room: New Essays on Searle and Artificial Intelligence, in Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84(1) (March): 129-133.

    16. Rapaport, William J. (2007), "How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape from a Chinese Room", Minds and Machines 16(4): 381-436.

    17. Rapaport, William J. (2007), "Searle on Brains as Computers", American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 6(2) (Spring): 4-9.

Copyright © 2001-2007 by William J. Rapaport (