Minds, programs, and Chinese philosophers: a Chinese perspective on the Chinese room

Koji Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The paper is concerned with John Searle’s famous Chinese room argument. Despite being objected to by some, Searle’s Chinese room argument appears very appealing. This is because Searle’s argument is based on an intuition about the mind that ‘we’ all seem to share. Ironically, however, Chinese philosophers don’t seem to share this same intuition. The paper begins by first analysing Searle’s Chinee room argument. It then introduces what can be seen as the (implicit) Chinese view of the mind. Lastly, it demonstrates a conceptual difference between Chinese and Western philosophy with respect to the notion of mind. Thus, it is shown that one must carefully attend to the presuppositions underlying Chinese philosophising in interpreting Chinese philosophers. The first draft of this essay was written as a record of the thought which struck me in midst of delivering a lecture on the Chinese view of the mind. I would like to thank Jay Garfield for suggesting me to write a paper based on the record. Many thanks also go to Tim Bayne for his comments on earlier drafts of the paper which led to many improvements. I have also greatly benefited from the comments of the anonymous referees solicited for this journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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