Two Black Boxes

Tools For Thinking About Meaning

You didn’t have to have a semantic or intentional interpretation of the boxes to see it: a caused red, and b caused green—an obvious pattern in need of explanation. In each instance of button-pressing, the scientists understood exactly how each step in the computing and transmitting process worked, but they couldn’t explain the generalization. You do need a semantic interpretation to explain why the regularity exists. In other words, the “macro-causal” level at which the explanation is expressed does not “reduce” to the “micro-causal” level.

Resource Datasbase

Philosopher Daniel Dennett's Book Intuition Pumps