Computationalism and the problem of other minds

Philosophical Psychology 8 (4):375-88 (1995)
In this paper I discuss Searle's claim that the computational properties of a system could never cause a system to be conscious. In the first section of the paper I argue that Searle is correct that, even if a system both behaves in a way that is characteristic of conscious agents (like ourselves) and has a computational structure similar to those agents, one cannot be certain that that system is conscious. On the other hand, I suggest that Searle's intuition that it is “empirically absurd” that such a system could be conscious is unfounded. In the second section I show that Searle's attempt to show that a system's computational states could not possibly cause it to be conscious is based upon an erroneous distinction between computational and physical properties. On the basis of these two arguments, I conclude that, supposing that the behavior of conscious agents can be explained in terms of their computational properties, we have good reason to suppose that a system having computational properties similar to such agents is also conscious.
Keywords Brain  Computationalism  Other Minds  Psychology  Science  Searle, J
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DOI 10.1080/09515089508573166
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Nagel (1974). What is It Like to Be a Bat? Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
John R. Searle (1980). Minds, Brains and Programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

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