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Posted by Harvey on December 13, 2001 20:13:40 UTC

I'll give you an off the cuff definition just to get the ball rolling.

Thinking is the process of understanding concepts and making inductions/deductions based on what is understood.

Understanding is a holistic concept whereby we say that you have a satisfactory explanation for a phenomena (process/state/object/etc) such that you can even predict future and past behavior based on your level of understanding. For example, if we say we understand all the natural laws of physics what we mean is that we can explain all the fundamental forces and objects within the universe and how they interact. We can demonstrate this understanding by showing how the universe came to be in the state that we now observe it and predict the future states by knowing the current state.

The question that Searle's thought experiment forces upon us is whether a computer is capable of understanding.

Warm regards, Harv

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