Abstract

“Strong artificial life” refers to the thesis that a sufficiently sophisticated computer simulation of a life form is a life form in its own right. Can John Searle's Chinese room argument [12]—originally intended by him to show that the thesis he dubs “strong AI” is false—be deployed against strong ALife? We have often encountered the suggestion that it can be (even in print; see Harnad [8]). We do our best to transfer the argument from the domain of AI to that of ALife. We do so in order to show once and for all that the Chinese room argument proves nothing about ALife. There may indeed be powerful philosophical objections to the thesis of strong ALife, but the Chinese room argument is not among them.

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