Consciousness: A connectionist manifesto [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 5 (2):161-85 (1995)
Abstract
  Connectionism and phenomenology can mutually inform and mutually constrain each other. In this manifesto I outline an approach to consciousness based on distinctions developed by connectionists. Two core identities are central to a connectionist theory of consciouness: conscious states of mind are identical to occurrent activation patterns of processing units; and the variable dispositional strengths on connections between units store latent and unconscious information. Within this broad framework, a connectionist model of consciousness succeeds according to the degree of correspondence between the content of human consciousness (the world as it is experienced) and the interpreted content of the network. Constitutive self-awareness and reflective self-awareness can be captured in a model through its ability to respond to self-reflexive information, identify self-referential categories, and process information in the absence of simultaneous input. The qualitative feel of sensation appears in a model as states of activation that are not fully discriminated by later processing. Connectionism also uniquely explains several specific features of experience. The most important of these is the superposition of information in consciousness — our ability to perceive more than meets the eye, and to apprehend complex categorical and temporal information in a single highly-cognized glance. This superposition in experience matches a superposition of representational content in distributed representations
Keywords Consciousness  Metaphysics  Qualia  Representation  Science
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    Elizabeth Schier (2009). Identifying Phenomenal Consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):216-222.
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