Editorial commentary

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):973-974 (2001)
Let us simplify the problem of “consciousness” or “visual consciousness”: Seeing is feeling. The difference between an optical transducer/effector that merely interacts with optical input, and a conscious system that sees, is that there is something it feels like for that conscious system to see, and that system feels that feeling. All talk about “internal representations” and internal or external difference registration or detection, and so on, is beside the point. The point is that what is seen is felt, not merely registered, processed, and acted upon. To explain consciousness in terms of sensorimotor action, one has to explain why and how any of that processing is felt; otherwise one is merely giving an optokinetic explanation of I/O (Input/Ouput) capacities (and of whether those capacities are actually or optimally generated by sensorimotor contingency processors, analog representations, symbolic representations, or other forms of internal structure/process), not of the fact that they are felt. Nor will it do to say “qualia are illusions.” Qualia are feelings. Am I under the illusion that I am seeing (i.e., feeling) something right now? What is the truth then? That I am not feeling, but merely acting? No, I'm afraid Descartes had it right. Certain things are not open to doubt. They either need to be explained, or passed over in silence, in favor of the unfelt correlated functions that we can explain (Harnad 1995; 2000; 2001).
Keywords Computer Science   Philosophy of Mind   Artificial Intelligence   Systems Theory, Control   Interdisciplinary Studies
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/clrjames1992312
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,651
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

9 ( #438,639 of 1,902,542 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #329,673 of 1,902,542 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.