Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Scott Sehon


Throughout this project, I ‘step into the Chinese Room’ presented by philosopher John R. Searle and develop the areas where the Chinese Room Argument succeeds. I have aimed to pick out where Searle has succeeded with the Chinese Room Argument and introduce how it fits in with his school of biological naturalism, as it seems that he already had some conception of it when presenting the Argument. From here, I introduce some of the primary arguments against the Chinese Room Argument because they do not fit with Searle’s overarching theme of biological naturalism. Particularly, Searle’s conception of systems and system features is something he endorses for the biological but immediately labels as silly for the Chinese Room. Following the exposition of systems and system features, I expand on how there is a disconnect between Searle’s use of system features and his view of the Chinese Room Argument. What is so special about Searle’s conception of systems and the systems present in the Chinese Room Argument? Searle should claim that the Chinese Room is simply not the kind of thing that can think. Ultimately, Searle’s philosophy of mind leaves us with either a muddled philosophy or an invalid argument in the Chinese Room, but with much to learn and not forget to consider in the philosophy of mind, such as the important role of subjectivity in our conscious life.