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preschool education modern theories

Russell’s solution to the puzzle is based on his theory of descriptions. As discussed above (see History of analytic philosophy: Bertrand Russell), Russell held that definite descriptions are not genuinely referring expressions, as are logically proper names, and that sentences containing them are logically equivalent to complex general statements containing existential and universal quantifiers. On this view, the sentence “Venus is the morning star” is logically equivalent to the complex statement “(i) There is a morning star, (ii) there is at most one morning star, and (iii) if anything is a morning star, then it is Venus.” Thus, “Venus is the morning star” is informative because it is equivalent to a complex statement that contains information about the morning star and its relation to Venus. In contrast, according to an early view of Russell (one in which ordinary proper names function logically as genuine names rather than as concealed descriptions), the sentence “Venus is Venus” says only that Venus is identical to itself.

A major difference between the Fregean and the Russellian accounts is that for Frege every referring expression, whether a proper name or a description, has both a meaning and a referent, whereas for Russell proper names have referents but no meanings. Consequently, within a Russellian semantics the connection between language and the world via proper names is direct, whereas for Frege it is indirect, taking place through the intermediation of the meaning of the name.

He is handed written questions in Chinese, to which he must provide written Chinese answers. With the aid of a computer program or a rule book that matches questions in Chinese with appropriate Chinese answers, the person could simulate the behaviour of a person who understands Chinese. Thus, a Turing test would count such a person as understanding Chinese. But by hypothesis, he does not have that understanding. Hence, understanding Chinese does not consist merely in the ability to manipulate Chinese symbols. What the functionalist theory leaves out and cannot account for, according to Searle, are the semantic properties of the Chinese symbols, which are what the Chinese speaker understands. In a similar way, the Turing-functionalist definition of thinking as the manipulation of symbols according to syntactic rules is deficient because it leaves out the symbols’ semantic properties.