This category covers questions as to whether self-consciousness can or cannot be incorporated into a functionalist view of the mind, and if it can, what a functionalist account of self-consciousness might look like.
Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self-consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self-consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we (and other organisms) have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by (...) functionalist models. For example, recently Ned Block commented,. (shrink)
Ontological functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties canbe defined wholly in terms of the general pattern of interaction ofontologically prior realizations. Ideological (or nonreductive)functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties can only bedefined nonreductively, in terms of the general pattern of theirinteraction with one another. My Self-consciousness Argumentestablishes: (1) ontological functionalism is mistaken because itsproposed definitions wrongly admit realizations (vs. mentalproperties) into the contents of self-consciousness; (2)ideological (nonreductive) functionalism is the only viable alternativefor functionalists. Michael Tooley's critique misses the (...) target:he offers no criticism of (1) – except for an incidental, andincorrect, attack on certain self-intimation principles – and,since he himself proposes a certain form of nonreductive definition, hetacitly accepts (2). Finally, as with all other nonreductivedefinitions, Tooley's proposal can be shown to undermine functionalism'sultimate goal: its celebrated materialist solution to theMind-Body Problem. The explanation of these points will require adiscussion of: Frege-Russell disagreements regarding intensionalcontexts; the relationship between self-consciousness and thetraditional doctrine of acquaintance; the role of self-intimationprinciples in functionalist psychology; and the Kripke-Lewiscontroversy over the nature of theoretical terms. (shrink)
Self-consciousness constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to functionalism. Either the standard functional definitions of mental relations wrongly require the contents of self-consciousness to be propositions involving.
Abstract: In the course of seeking an answer to the question "How do you know you are not a zombie?" Floridi (2005) issues an ingenious, philosophically rich challenge to artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of an extremely demanding version of the so-called knowledge game (or "wise-man puzzle," or "muddy-children puzzle")—one that purportedly ensures that those who pass it are self-conscious. In this article, on behalf of (at least the logic-based variety of) AI, I take up the challenge—which is to (...) say, I try to show that this challenge can in fact be met by AI in the foreseeable future. (shrink)
It is suggested that the anatomical structures whichmediate consciousness evolved as decisiveembellishments to a (non-conscious) design strategypresent even in the simplest monocellular organisms.Consciousness is thus not the pinnacle of ahierarchy whose base is the primitive reflex, becausereflexes require a nervous system, which the monocelldoes not possess. By postulating that consciousness isintimately connected to self-paced probing of theenvironment, also prominent in prokaryotic behavior,one can make mammalian neuroanatomy amenable todramatically simple rationalization.
The Phenomenal Self (PS) is widely considered to be dependent on body representations, whereas the Narrative Self (NS) is generally thought to rely on abstract cognitive representations. The concept of the Bodily Social Self (BSS) might play an important role in explaining how the high level cognitive self-representations enabling the NS might emerge from the bodily basis of the PS. First, the phenomenal self (PS) and narrative self (NS), are briefly examined. Next, the BSS is defined and its potential for (...) explaining aspects of social cognition is explored. The minimal requirements for a BSS are considered, before reviewing empirical evidence regarding the development of the BSS over the first year of life. Finally, evidence on the involvement of the body in social distinctions between self and other is reviewed to illustrate how the BSS is affected by both the bottom up effects of multisensory stimulation and the top down effects of social identification. (shrink)
Conscious states as objects of awareness: on Uriah Kriegel, Subjective consciousness: a self - representational theory Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9763-9 Authors Brie Gertler, Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
I offer a philosophically well-motivated solution to a problem that George Bealer has identified, which he claims is fatal to functionalism. The problem is that there seems to be no way to generate a satisfactory Ramsey sentence of a psychological theory in which mental-state predicates occur within the scopes of mental-state predicates. My central claim is that the functional roles in terms of which a creature capable of self-consciousness identifies her own mental states must be roles that items could play (...) within creatures whose psychology is less complex than hers. (Bealer’s reply to this paper appears in the same issue of Mind & Language.). (shrink)
The topic of self-awareness has an impressive philosophical pedigree, and sustained discussion of the topic goes back at least to Descartes. More recently, selfawareness has become a lively issue in the cognitive sciences, thanks largely to the emerging body of work on “mindreading”, the process of attributing mental states to people (and other organisms). During the last 15 years, the processes underlying mindreading have been a major focus of attention in cognitive and developmental psychology. Most of this work has been (...) concerned with the processes underlying the attribution of mental states to other people. However, a number of psychologists and philosophers have also proposed accounts of the mechanisms underlying the attribution of mental states to oneself. This process of reading one’s own mind or becoming self- aware will be our primary concern in this paper. (shrink)
From Descartes to Hume, philosophers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries developed a dialectic of radically conflicting claims about the nature of the self. In the Paralogisms of The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant comes to terms with this dialectic and with the character of the experiencing self. In this study, Powell seeks to elucidate these difficult texts, showing that the structure of the Paralogisms provides an essential key to understanding both Kant's critique of "rational psychology" and his theory of (...) self-consciousness. As Kant realized, the ways in which we must represent ourselves to ourselves have import not only for epistemology, but for our view of persons and of our own immortality, as well as for moral philosophy. His theory of self-consciousness is also shown to have implications for contemporary discussions of the problem of other minds, functionalism, and the problem of indexical self-reference. (shrink)
Brook and Raymont do not assert that self-representing representations are sufficient to generate consciousness, but they do assert that they are necessary, at least in the sense that self-representation provides the most plausible mechanism for generating conscious mental states. I argue that a first-order approach to consciousness is equally capable of accounting for the putative features of consciousness which are supposed to favor the self-representational account. If nothing is gained the simplicity of the first-order theory counts in its favor. I (...) also advance a speculative proposal that we are never aware of any distinctively mental attributes of our own states of consciousness except via an independent act of reflective conceptualization, although this goes rather farther than the first-order theory strictly requires. (shrink)
A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another if (...) its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion. (shrink)
In his recent article, ``Self-Consciousness', George Bealer has set outa novel and interesting argument against functionalism in the philosophyof mind. I shall attempt to show, however, that Bealer's argument cannotbe sustained.In arguing for this conclusion, I shall be defending three main theses.The first is connected with the problem of defining theoreticalpredicates that occur in theories where the following two features arepresent: first, the theoretical predicate in question occurswithin both extensional and non-extensional contexts; secondly, thetheory in question asserts that the relevant (...) theoretical states enterinto causal relations. What I shall argue is that a Ramsey-styleapproach to the definition of such theoretical terms requires twodistinct quantifiers: one which ranges over concepts, and theother which ranges over properties in the world. (shrink)
Subjective consciousness and self-representation Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9765-7 Authors Robert Van Gulick, Department of Philosophy, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.