Searle, Syntax, and Observer Relativity

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):101-122 (1996)
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I focus on and criticize John Searle's argument against a classical computational view of the mind according to which the attribution of syntax is observer relative (in Searle, Rediscovery of Mind, MIT Press, 1992). Searle's argument is interesting inasmuch as it differs from his previous and more well-known argument that syntax is not sufficient for semantics. This argument aims to undercut even the syntax as something that exists only in the eye of the beholder. I show that Searle's argument rests on premises that go unsupported.
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