Caterpillars and consciousness

Philosophical Psychology 10 (4):437-49 (1997)
Abstract
The dominant position in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is computationalism where the operative principle is that cognition in general and consciousness in particular can be captured by identification of the proper set of computations. This position has been attacked from several angles, most effectively, in my opinion, by John Searle in his now famous Chinese Room thought experiment. I critique this Searlean perspective on the grounds that, while it is probably correct in its essentials, it does not go far enough. Quite simply, it runs afoul of the problem of emergentism. The proffered solution to this problem is that consciousness (or very rudimentary forms of it) needs to be viewed as an inherent property of organic form. While this recasting of the problem solves the emergentist dilemma it opens up a number of other issues. However, the new problems, unlike the old, appear in principle to be amenable to scientific analysis.
Keywords Artificial Intelligence  Computation  Consciousness  Science  Searle, J
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