We should eventually understand how exactly first person phenomenal consciousness is generated. When we do, we should be able to enginner one for robots. This is the engineering thesis in machineconsciousness.
In this short paper I will introduce an idea which, I will argue, presents a fundamental additional challenge to the machineconsciousness community. The idea takes the questions surrounding phenomenology, qualia and phenomenality one step further into the realm of intersubjectivity but with a twist, and the twist is this: that an agent’s intersubjective experience is deeply felt and necessarily co-affective; it is enkinaesthetic, and only through enkinaesthetic awareness can we establish the affective enfolding which enables first the (...) perturbation, and then the balance and counter-balance, the attunement and co-ordination of whole-body interaction through reciprocal adaptation. (shrink)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism (NRP) is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (contra Non-reduction ), or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety (contra Physicalism ). I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations (...) that may hold between the degrees of freedom needed to characterize certain special science entities, and those needed to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities; these correspond to what I call ‘reductions’, ‘restrictions’, and ‘eliminations’ in degrees of freedom. I then argue that eliminations in degrees of freedom, in particular—when strictly fewer degrees of freedom are required to characterize certain special science entities than are required to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities. (shrink)
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that (...) occasion. Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
Instead of using low-level neurophysiology mimicking and exploratory programming methods commonly used in the machineconsciousness field, the hierarchical Operational Architectonics (OA) framework of brain and mind functioning proposes an alternative conceptual-theoretical framework as a new direction in the area of model-driven machine (robot) consciousness engineering. The unified brain-mind theoretical OA model explicitly captures (though in an informal way) the basic essence of brain functional architecture, which indeed constitutes a theory of consciousness. The OA describes (...) the neurophysiological basis of the phenomenal level of brain organization. In this context the problem of producing man-made “machine” consciousness and “artificial” thought is a matter of duplicating all levels of the operational architectonics hierarchy (with its inherent rules and mechanisms) found in the brain electromagnetic field. We hope that the conceptual-theoretical framework described in this paper will stimulate the interest of mathematicians and/or computer scientists to abstract and formalize principles of hierarchy of brain operations which are the building blocks for phenomenal consciousness and thought. (shrink)
In recent years, the debate on the problem of causal exclusion has seen an ‘interventionist turn’. Numerous non-reductive physicalists (e.g. Shapiro and Sober 2007) have argued that Woodward's (2003) interventionist theory of causation provides a means to empirically establish the existence of non-reducible mental-to-physical causation. By contrast, Baumgartner (2010) has presented an interventionist exclusion argument showing that interventionism is in fact incompatible with non-reductive physicalism. In response, a number of revised versions of interventionism have been suggested that are (...) compatible with non-reductive physicalism. The first part of this paper reconstructs the definitional details of these modified interventionist theories. The second part investigates whether the modification proposed in Woodward (2011) is not only compatible with, but moreover supports non-reductive physicalism. In particular, it is examined whether that newest variant of interventionism allows for empirically resolving the problem of causal exclusion as envisaged by Shapiro, Sober and others. (shrink)
The truly philosophical issue in machine conscioiusness is whether machines can have 'hard consciounsess' (like in Chalmers' hard problem of consciousness). Criteria for hard consciousness are higher than for phenomenal consciousness, since the latter incorporates first-person functional consciousness.
I argue here that consciousness can be engineered. The claim that functional consciousness can be engineered has been persuasively put forth in regards to first-person functional consciousness; robots, for instance, can recognize colors, though there is still much debate about details of this sort of consciousness. Such consciousness has now become one of the meanings of the term phenomenal consciousness (e.g., as used by Franklin and Baars). Yet, we extend the argument beyond the tradition (...) of behaviorist or functional reductive views on consciousness that still predominate within cognitive science. If Nagel-Chalmers-Block-style non-reductive naturalism about first-person consciousness (h-consciousness) holds true, then, eventually we should be able to understand how such consciousness operates and how it gets produced (this is not the same as bridging the explanatory gap or solving Chalmers’s hard problem of consciousness). If so, the consciousness it involves can in principle be engineered. (shrink)
For any given society, its particular technology of communication has far-reaching consequences, not merely as regards social organization, but on the epistemic level as well. Plato's name-theory of meaning represents the transition from the age of primary orality to that of literacy; Wittgenstein's use-theory of meaning stands for the transition from the age of literacy to that of a second orality (audiovisual communication, electronic information processing). On the basis of a use-theory of meaning the problem of machineconsciousness, (...) to which the later Wittgenstein again and again returned, is capable of a non-essentialist solution: appropriate changes in our form of life might well entail a radically different psychological language-game. (shrink)
Replication or even modelling of consciousness in machines requires some clariﬁcations and reﬁnements of our concept of consciousness. Design of, construction of, and interaction with artiﬁcial systems can itself assist in this conceptual development. We start with the tentative hypothesis that although the word “consciousness” has no well-deﬁned meaning, it is used to refer to aspects of human and animal informationprocessing. We then argue that we can enhance our understanding of what these aspects might be by designing (...) and building virtual-machine architectures capturing various features of consciousness. This activity may in turn nurture the development of our concepts of consciousness, showing how an analysis based on information-processing virtual machines answers old philosophical puzzles as well enriching empirical theories. This process of developing and testing ideas by developing and testing designs leads to gradual reﬁnement of many of our pre-theoretical concepts of mind, showing how they can be construed as implicitly “architecture-based” concepts. Understanding how humanlike robots with appropriate architectures are likely to feel puzzled about qualia may help us resolve those puzzles. The concept of “qualia” turns out to be an “architecture-based” concept, while individual qualia concepts are “architecture-driven”. (shrink)
Machineconsciousness exists already in organic systems and it is only a matter of time -- and some agreement -- before it will be realised in reverse-engineered organic systems and forward- engineered inorganic systems. The agreement must be over the preconditions that must first be met if the enterprise is to be successful, and it is these preconditions, for instance, being a socially-embedded, structurally-coupled and dynamic, goal-directed entity that organises its perceptual input and enacts its world through the (...) application of both a cognitive and kinaesthetic imagination, that I shall concentrate on presenting in this paper. It will become clear that these preconditions will present engineers with a tall order, but not, I will argue, an impossible one. After all, we might agree with Freeman and Núñez's claim that the machine metaphor has restricted the expectations of the cognitive sciences (Freeman & Núñez, 1999); but it is a double-edged sword, since our limited expectations about machines also narrow the potential of our cognitive science. (shrink)
Over sixty years ago, Kenneth Craik noted that, if an organism (or an artificial agent) carried 'a small-scale model of external reality and of its own possible actions within its head', it could use the model to behave intelligently. This paper argues that the possible actions might best be represented by interactions between a model of reality and a model of the agent, and that, in such an arrangement, the internal model of the agent might be a transparent model of (...) the sort recently discussed by Metzinger, and so might offer a useful analogue of a conscious entity. The CRONOS project has built a robot functionally similar to a human that has been provided with an internal model of itself and of the world to be used in the way suggested by Craik; when the system is completed, it will be possible to study its operation from the perspective not only of artificial intelligence, but also of machineconsciousness. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim, and others, have recently posed a powerful challenge to both emergentism and non-reductive physicalism by providing arguments that these positons are committed to an untenabie combination of both 'upward' and 'dounward' determination. In section 1, I illuminate how the nature of the realization relation underlies such skeptical arguments However, in section 2, I suggest that such conclusions involve a confusion between the implications of physicalism and those of a related thesis in 'Completeness of Physics' (CoP). I show (...) tht the truth of CoP poses a very serious obstacle to realized properties being efficacious in a physicalist universe and suggest that abandoning CoP offers hope for defending non-reductive physicalism. I then fornulate a schema for a physicalist metaphysics, in section 3, which rejects CoP. This scenario is one where microphysical properties have a few conditional powers that they contribute to individuals when they realize certain properties. In such a situation, I argue, though physicalism holds true there is still plausibly both `upward' and 'downward' determination, where the latter is crucially an underappreciated form of determmation I term 'non- causal'. Ultimately, I conclude that this metaphysical schema offers a coherent account of Strongly ernergent properties that preserves the truth of NRP, albeit in a form that is purged of any committment to CoP. Finally, in section 4, I carefully explore which of Kim's assumptions and arguments this metaphysics undermines. (shrink)
By presenting a wide spectrum of non-reductive theories, the volume endeavors to overcome the dichotomy between dualism and monism that keeps plaguing the debate in favor of new and more differentiated positions.
Given some reasonable assumptions concerning the nature of mental causation, non-reductive physicalism faces the following dilemma. If mental events cause physical events, they merely overdetermine their effects (given the causal closure of the physical). If mental events cause only other mental events, they do not make the kind of difference we want them to. This dilemma can be avoided if we drop the dichotomy between physical and mental events. Mental events make a real difference if they cause actions. But (...) actions are neither mental nor physical events. They are realized by physical events, but they are not type-identical with them. This gives us non-reductive physicalism without downward causation. The tenability of this view has been questioned. Jaegwon Kim, in particular, has argued that non-reductive physicalism is committed to downward causation. Appealing to the nature of actions, I will argue that this commitment can be avoided. (shrink)
Non-reductive physicalism is committed to two theses: first, that mental properties are ontologically autonomous, and second, that physicalism is true. Jaegwon Kim has argued that this view is unstable – to honor one thesis, one must abandon the other. In this paper, I present an account of property realization that addresses Kim’s criticism and that explains how the two theses are indeed comfortably compatible.
The first part of this paper presents an argument showing that the currently most highly acclaimed interventionist theory of causation, i.e. the one advanced by Woodward, excludes supervening macro properties from having a causal influence on effects of their micro supervenience bases. Moreover, this interventionist exclusion argument is demonstrated to rest on weaker premises than classical exclusion arguments. The second part then discusses a weakening of interventionism that Woodward suggests. This weakened version of interventionism turns out either to be inapplicable (...) to cases of downward causation involving supervening macro properties or to render corresponding causal claims meaningless. In sum, the paper argues that, contrary to what many non-reductive physicalists claim, interventionism does not render non-reductive physicalism immune to the problem of causal exclusion. (shrink)
Can physicalism (or materialism) be non-reductive? I provide an opinionated survey of the debate on this question. I suggest that attempts to formulate non-reductive physicalism by appeal to claims of event identity, supervenience, or realization have produced doctrines that fail either to be physicalist or to be non-reductive. Then I treat in more detail a recent attempt to formulate non-reductive physicalism by Derk Pereboom, but argue that it fares no better.
It is difficult to wander far in contemporary metaphysics without bumping into talk of possible worlds. And, reference to possible worlds is not confined to metaphysics. It can be found in contemporary epistemology and ethics, and has even made its way into linguistics and decision theory. What are those possible worlds, the entities to which theorists in these disciplines all appeal? Some have hoped that a theory of possible worlds can be used to reduce modality to non-modal terms. This paper (...) sets reductive theories aside, and articulates and applies a framework for evaluating non-reductive theories of possible worlds. I argue that, if we abjure reduction, we should aim for a theory of possible worlds that is user-friendly. I then outline four leading contemporary theories and consider objections to each. My conclusions are negative: every theory we discuss fails to be user-friendly in some significant respect. (shrink)
* Note that in this article an inverted comma is used for NER', where it should be an accent, to differentiate it from standard NER. Same with P1', P2' etc. Apparently, the editors of de Gruyter can't understand an author's instruction and just invent their own conventions. -/- In this article, I am interested in answering two, relatively simple, but important questions: (a) Does Kant allow first-order consciousness without second-order consciousness, that is, does he allow for empirical (...) class='Hi'>consciousness that is not transcendentally apperceived, and so not accompanied by the 'I think', either in principle or de facto? (b) If Kant allows for unaccompanied first-order consciousness, what is the status of this consciousness? Is it in any way possible to be conscious of this consciousness? Or is this first-order consciousness in some way a consciousness of which we are and remain ex hypothesi unconscious? A related question which is independent of Kant's arguments regarding the conditions for self-consciousness, is whether Kant allows for unconsciousness strictius dicta, viz., the total lack of consciousness at all. I believe that transcendental apperception itself provides sufficient ground for establishing Kant's position on unaccompanied or non-apperceptive consciousness. An argument for the thesis that Kant either allows or doesn't allow for non-apperceptive consciousness can be gleaned from the positive argument for transcendental apperception as an analytic principle. We need only look at the logical ramifications of this principle to find such an argument. (shrink)
Non-reductive moral realism is the view that there are moral properties which cannot be reduced to natural properties. If moral properties exist, it is plausible that they strongly supervene on non-moral properties- more specifically, on mental, social, and biological properties. There may also be good reasons for thinking that moral properties are irreducible. However, strong supervenience and irreducibility seem incompatible. Strong supervenience entails that there is an enormous number of modal truths (specifically, truths about exactly which non-moral properties necessitate (...) which moral properties); and all these modal truths must be explained. If these modal truths can all be explained, then it must be a fundamental truth about the essence of each moral property that the moral property is necessarily equivalent to some property that can be specified purely in mental, social and biological terms; and this fundamental truth appears to be a reduction of the moral property in question. The best way to resist this argument is by resorting to the claim that mental and social properties are not, strictly speaking, natural properties, but are instead properties that can only be analysed in partly normative terms. Acceptance of that claim is the price of non-reductive moral realism. (shrink)
This paper is an overview of recent discussions concerning the mind–body problem that have been taking place at the interface between philosophy and neuroscience. In it I focus on phenomenal consciousness or “qualia”, which I distinguish from various related issues (sections 1-2). I then discuss various influential skeptical arguments that question the possibility of reductive explanations of qualia in physicalist terms: knowledge arguments, conceivability arguments, the argument from multiple realizability and the explanatory gap argument. None of the arguments (...) is found entirely convincing (section 3). It does not necessarily follow that reductive physicalism is the only option, but it is defensible. However, constant conceptual and methodological reflection is required alongside ongoing research, to keep such a view free from dogmatism and naivety (section 4). (shrink)
Why do agent-relative reasons have authority over us, reflective creatures? Reductive accounts base the normativity of agent-relative reasons on agent-neutral considerations like having parents caring especially for their own children serves best the interests of all children. Such accounts, however, beg the question about the source of normativity of agent-relative ways of reason-giving. In this paper, I argue for a non-reductive account of the reflective necessity of agent-relative concerns. Such an account will reveal an important structural complexity of (...) practical reasoning in general. Christine Korsgaard relates the rational binding force of practical reasons to the various identities or self-conceptions under which we value ourselves. The problem is that it is not clear why such self-conceptions would necessitate us rationally, given the fact that most of our identities are simply given. Perhaps, Harry Frankfurt is right in arguing that we are not only necessitated by reason, but also, and predominantly by what we love. I argue, however, that the necessities of love (in Frankfurts phrase) are not to be separated from, but should be seen as belonging to the necessities of reason. Our loves, concerns and related identities provide for a specific and important structure to practical reflection. They function on the background of reasoning, having a specific default role: they would lose their character as concerns, if there was a need for them to be cited on the foreground of deliberation or if there was a need to justify them. This does not mean that our deep concerns cannot be scrutinised. They can only be scrutinised in an indirect way, however, which explains their role in grounding the normativity of agent-relative reasons. It appears that this account can provide for a viable interpretation of Korsgaards argument about the foundational role of practical identities. (shrink)
It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamical systems theory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamical systems at different levels are related to one another. I then use this analysis to describe a (...) graded approach to non-reductive physicalism, and to critically assess Davidson’s arguments for psychological anomaly. I also show how this approach can inform empirical research in cognitive science. (shrink)
To build a true conscious robot requires that a robot’s “brain” be capable of supporting the phenomenal consciousness as human’s brain enjoys. Operational Architectonics framework through exploration of the temporal structure of information flow and inter-area interactions within the network of functional neuronal populations [by examining topographic sharp transition processes in the scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) on the millisecond scale] reveals and describes the EEG architecture which is analogous to the architecture of the phenomenal world. This suggests that the task (...) of creating the “machine” consciousness would require a machine implementation that can support the kind of hierarchical architecture found in EEG. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is threefold. Firstly, it aims to present, in an educational and non-technical fashion, the main ideas at the basis of Aerts’ creation-discovery view and hidden measurement approach : a fundamental explanatory framework whose importance, in this author’s view, has been seriously underappreciated by the physics community, despite its success in clarifying many conceptual challenges of quantum physics. Secondly, it aims to introduce a new quantum machine—that we call the δ quantum machine —which is (...) able to reproduce the transmission and reflection probabilities of a one-dimensional quantum scattering process by a Dirac delta-function potential. The machine is used not only to demonstrate the pertinence of the above mentioned explanatory framework, in the general description of physical systems, but also to illustrate (in the spirit of Aerts’ ∊-model) the origin of classical and quantum structures, by revealing the existence of processes which are neither classical nor quantum, but irreducibly intermediate. We do this by explicitly introducing what we call the k-model and by proving that its processes cannot be modelized by a classical or quantum scattering system. The third purpose of this work is to exploit the powerful metaphor provided by our quantum machine, to investigate the intimate relation between the concept of potentiality and the notion of non-spatiality , that we characterize in precise terms, introducing for this the new concept of process-actuality. (shrink)
As non-biological machines come to be designed in ways which exhibit characteristics comparable to human mental states, the manner in which the law treats these entities will become increasingly important both to designers and to society at large. The direct question will become whether, given certain attributes, a non-biological machine could ever be viewed as a legal person. In order to begin to understand the ramifications of this question, this paper starts by exploring the distinction between the related concepts (...) of human, person, and property. Once it is understood that person in the legal sense can apply to a non-biological entity such as a corporation, the inquiry then goes on to examine the folk psychology view of intentionality and the concept of autonomy. The conclusion reached is that these two attributes can support the view that a non-biological machine, at least in theory, can be viewed as a legal person. (shrink)
This short paper is a "quick and dirty" introduction for non-philosophers (with some background in propositional logic) to Jaegwon Kim's famous supervenience argument against non-reductive physicalism (also known as the exclusion problem). It motivates the problem of mental causation, introduces Kim's formulation of the issue centered around mind-body supervenience, presents the argument in deductive form, and makes explicit why Kim concludes that vindicating mental causation demands a reduction of mind.
Jonathan Schaffer (2004 ) proposes an ingenious amendment to David Lewis's semantics for counterfactuals. This amendment explicitly invokes the notion of causal independence, thus giving up Lewis's ambitions for a reductive counterfactual account of causation. But in return, it rescues Lewis's semantics from extant counterexamples. I present a new counterexample that defeats even Schaffer's amendment. Further, I argue that a better approach would be to follow the causal modelling literature and evaluate counterfactuals via an explicit postulated causal structure. This (...) alternative approach easily resolves the new counterexample, as well as all the previous ones. Up to now, its perceived drawback relative to Lewis's scheme has been its non-reductiveness. But since the same drawback applies equally to Schaffer's amended scheme, this becomes no longer a point of comparative disadvantage. (shrink)
While the recent special issue of JCS on machineconsciousness (Volume 14, Issue 7) was in preparation, a collection of papers on the same topic, entitled Artificial Consciousness and edited by Antonio Chella and Riccardo Manzotti, was published. 1 The editors of the JCS special issue, Ron Chrisley, Robert Clowes and Steve Torrance, thought it would be a timely and productive move to have authors of papers in their collection review the papers in the Chella and Manzotti (...) book, and include these reviews in the special issue of the journal. Eight of the JCS authors (plus Uziel Awret) volunteered to review one or more of the fifteen papers in Artificial Consciousness; these individual reviews were then collected together with a minimal amount of editing to produce a seamless chapter-by-chapter review of the entire book. Because the number and length of contributions to the JCS issue was greater than expected, the collective review of Artificial Con- sciousness had to be omitted, but here at last it is. Each paper’s review is written by a single author, so any comments made may not reflect the opinions of all nine of the joint authors! (shrink)
Humans are a part of the complex system including both natural and cultural-technological environment. Evolution of this system included self-amplifying feedbacks that lead to the appearance of human conscious mind. We describe the current state of the understanding of human brain evolution that stresses neurohormonal and biochemical changes rather than simple increase of anatomical substrate for the mind. It follows that human brain is strongly influenced by the state of the body and may operate at various levels of consciousness (...) depending on its biochemical environment created by ingestion of various substances and by specific physical activities. Through the study of the widespread phenomenon of shamanism that uses mind-altering practices we argue that altered states of consciousness and non-local minds are not only real phenomena, but that they are products of natural evolution, valuable for human survival and development. Consideration of altered states of consciousness and broadening of the framework for understanding brain function beyond mechanistic interpretations is necessary to further develop human adaptations and provide a better way of fitting humans as parts of the interconnected system into the global and universal patterns. (shrink)
By his critical reflections on the crisis of modern civilization, Jan Patočka, phenomenologist of the Other Europe, incarnates the critical consciousness of the phenomenological movement. He was in fact one of the first European philosophers to have emphasized the necessity of abandoning the hitherto Eurocentric propositions of solution to the crisis when he explicitly raised the problems of a “Post-European humanity”. In advocating an understanding of the history of European humanity different from those of Husserl and Heidegger, Patočka directs (...) his philosophical reflections back to sketch a more profound phenomenology of the natural world insufficiently thematized in Husserl and absent in Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit. By virtue of its emphasis on the structural characteristics of movement, of praxis, and of the disclosure of the abyssal nature of human existence and of the original nothingness as the (non-)foundation of the phenomenal world, Patočka’s phenomenology of the natural world constitutes an opening towards the reception of Others and other cultures, in particular that of Chinese Taoist philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate the use of machine learning techniques to classify a wide range of non-sentential utterance types in dialogue, a necessary ﬁrst step in the interpretation of such fragments. We train different learners on a set of contextual features that can be extracted from PoS information. Our results achieve an 87% weighted f-score—a 25% improvement over a simple rule-based algorithm baseline.
Major strands of the history of scientific psychology proposed less mechanistic explanations of behavior than the “series of billiard ball reactions” that Ellis ascribes to them. I tease apart psychological systems based on hedonism and those based on stimulus-response mechanisms-and then tease apart basic hedonism and drive-reduction hedonism, to layout psychological and neuroscientific foundations for the active, dynamic, cognitive, emotive, and "spiritual" dynamics of human nature which Ellis calls us to affirm. I trace these distinctions through the drive-reduction psychoanalysis of (...) Freud, the drive-reduction behaviorism of Hull, and the non-drive-reductive hedonistic system of Skinner. Then I trace the recent neuroscience of reward and punishment circuits and putative narcissistic and altruistic circuits, to conclude that Behaviorism and Neuroscience support broad hedonistic but major non-drive-reduction motivational systems. I affirm Ellis’ contention that emotions are basically “active”, although with some caveats and questions. (shrink)
An example is presented of a model of consciousness based on a description of the world which integrates the material and psychological aspects from the start. An indication is given of work under way to test the model.
This paper distinguishes three conceptual problems that attend philosophical accounts of consciousness. The first concerns the problem of properly characterizing the nature of consciousness itself, the second is the problem of making intelligible the relation between consciousness and the physical, and the third is the problem of creating the intellectual space for a shift in philosophical framework that would enable us to deal adequately with the first two problems. It is claimed that physicalism, in both its (...) class='Hi'>reductive and non-reductive forms, fails to deal adequately with either the first or second problem. The diagnosis of this failure is connected to the fact that consciousness cannot be treated in its own terms while being simultaneously fitted into an object-based conceptual schema. In light of this, it is proposed that a Bradleian version of absolute idealism may provide a metaphysical and epistemological framework which would enable us to recognize the conceptual diversity required to treat conscious phenomena on their own terms without forcing us to abandon naturalism. (shrink)
Information processing theories in psychology give rise to executive theories of consciousness. Roughly speaking, these theories maintain that consciousness is a centralized processor that we use when processing novel or complex stimuli. The computational assumptions driving the executive theories are closely tied to the computer metaphor. However, those who take the metaphor serious — as I believe psychologists who advocate the executive theories do — end up accepting too particular a notion of a computing device. In this essay, (...) I examine the arguments from theoretical computational considerations that cognitive psychologists use to support their general approach in order to show that they make unwarranted assumptions about the processing attributes of consciousness. I then go on to examine the assumptions behind executive theories which grow out of the computer metaphor of cognitive psychology and conclude that we may not be the sort of computational machine cognitive psychology assumes and that cognitive psychology''s approach in itself does not buy us anything in developing theories of consciousness. Hence, the state space in which we may locate consciousness is vast, even within an information processing framework. (shrink)
At the start of the 20th century the question of whether life could be explained in purely me- chanical terms was as hotly debated as the mind-body problem is today. Two factions opposed each other: Biological mechanists claimed that the properties characteristic of living organisms (metabolism, perception, goal-directed behavior, procreation, morphogenesis) could be ex- plained mechanistically, in the way the behavior of a clock can be explained by the properties and the arrangement of its cogs, springs, and weights. Substantial vitalists, (...) on the other hand, maintained that the explanation envisaged by the mechanists was impossible and that one had to postulate a special nonphysical substance in order to explain life. (shrink)
It is shown that if quantum physics is interpreted according to the philosophy of monistic idealism--that consciousness is the ground of all being--then some of the important dualisms of philosophy can be integrated.
Kant is often considered to have argued that perceptual awareness of objects in one's environment depends on the subject's possession of conceptual capacities. This conceptualist interpretation raises an immediate problem concerning the nature of perceptual awareness in non-rational, non-concept using animals. In this paper I argue that Kant’s claims concerning animal representation and consciousness do not foreclose the possibility of attributing to animals the capacity for objective perceptual consciousness, and that a non-conceptualist interpretation of Kant’s position concerning perceptual (...) awareness can actively endorse this attribution. Kant can consistently allow that animals have a point of view on the objective world which possesses a distinctive phenomenal character while denying what seems most important to him – viz. that animals have the capacity to take cognitive attitudes towards, and thus self-ascribe, their own representational states. (shrink)
In a recent response paper to Brogaard (2011a), Morten Overgaard and Thor Grünbaum argue that my case for the claim that blindsight subjects are not visually conscious of the stimuli they correctly identify rests on a mistaken necessary criterion for determining whether a conscious experience is visual or non-visual. Here I elaborate on the earlier argu- ment while conceding that the question of whether blindsight subjects are visually con- scious of the visual stimuli they correctly identify largely is an empirical (...) question. I conclude by sketching a method for testing whether blindsight subjects have visual con- sciousness of stimuli presented to them in their blind ﬁeld. (shrink)
John Searle has argued that one can imagine embodying a machine running any computer program without understanding the symbols, and hence that purely computational processes do not yield understanding. The disagreement this argument has generated stems, I hold, from ambiguity in talk of 'understanding'. The concept is analysed as a relation between subjects and symbols having two components: a formal and an intentional. The central question, then becomes whether a machine could possess the intentional component with or without (...) the formal component. I argue that the intentional state of a symbol's being meaningful to a subject is a functionally definable relation between the symbol and certain past and present states of the subject, and that a machine could bear this relation to a symbol. I sketch a machine which could be said to possess, in primitive form, the intentional component of understanding. Even if the machine, in lacking consciousness, lacks full understanding, it contributes to a theory of understanding and constitutes a counterexample to the Chinese Room argument. (shrink)
Within recent discussions in the Philosophy of Mind, the nature of conscious phenomenal states or qualia (also called ‘raw feels’ or the feel of ‘what it is like to be’) has been an important focus of interest. Proponents of Mind-Body Type-Identity theories have claimed that mental states can be reduced to neurophysiological states of the brain. Others have denied that such a reduction is possible; for them, there remains an explanatory gap. In this paper, functionalist, physicalist, epiphenomenalist, and biological models (...) of the mind are discussed and compared. Donald Davidson’s Anomalous Monism is proposed as a unifying framework for a non-reductive theory of qualia and consciousness. Downward Causation, Emergence through Symmetry-breaking, and Dynamical Systems Theory are used to show how consciousness and qualia emerge from their neural substrate and can also be causally efficacious. (shrink)
The development of conscious machines faces a number of difficult issues such as the apparent immateriality of mind, qualia and self-awareness. Also consciousness-related cognitive processes such as perception, imagination, motivation and inner speech are a technical challenge. It is foreseen that the development of machineconsciousness would call for a system approach; the developer of conscious machines should consider complete systems that integrate the cognitive processes seamlessly and process information in a transparent way with representational and non-representational (...) information-processing modes. An overview of the main issues is given and some possible solutions are outlined. (shrink)
I argue on the basis of recent findings in neuroscience that consciousness is not a brain process, and then explore some alternative, non-reductive options concerning the metaphysical relationship between consciousness and the brain, such as weak and strong accounts of the emergence of consciousness and the constitution view of consciousness. I propose an Aristotelian account of the strong emergence of consciousness. This account motivates a wider ontology than reductive physicalism and makes reference to (...) formal causation as a way explaining the causal power of consciousness. What is meant by formal causation, in thiscontext, is that consciousness has the causal power to organize or control neuronal activity. This notion of causation is elaborated and supported by recent findings in the neurosciences. An advantage of this empirically informed approach is that proponents of the irreducibility of consciousness no longer need to rely upon conceptually based arguments alone, but can build a case against reductive physicalism that has a significant empirical foundation. (shrink)
My aim in this thesis is to explain how a non-reductionist metaphysics can accommodate the causal relevance of the psychological and of the special sciences generally. According to physicalism, all behavior is caused by brain-states; given "folk-psychology", behavior (such as the waving of my hand) is caused by some psychological state. If psychological states are distinct from brain states (event dualism), then our behavior is overdetermined and this, it is claimed, is unacceptable. I argue that this consequence is not unacceptable. (...) I claim that our explanatory practice should guide our ontological commitment. If we can offer true explanations that appeal to more than one event (or property), then we are committed to overdetermination for the event explained. I argue that accepting overdetermination is not absurd and that we can give an adequate account of causal relevance for psychological and other supervenient properties. The result is a partial defense of both property and event pluralism. Recent work by Davidson, Fodor, Jackson, Kim, Pettit and Yablo receives explicit and critical discussion. (shrink)
among them Joseph Levine, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson and Jaegwon Kim?have claimed that there are conceptual grounds sufficient for ruling out the possibility of a reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Their claim assumes a functional model of reduction (regarded by Kim as an alternative to the traditional Nagelian model) which requires an a priori entailment from the facts in the reduction base to the phenomena to be explained. The aim of this paper is to show that this is (...) an unreasonable requirement?a requirement that no reductive explanation in science should be expected to satisfy. I argue that the functional model is not substantively different from the Nagelian model properly understood, and that the question whether consciousness is reductively explainable?in a sense involving property identifications or in some weaker sense compatible with Nagelian reduction?is a fundamentally empirical question, not one that can be settled on conceptual grounds alone. Introduction Kim's critique of the Nagelian model of reduction The functional model of reduction Is consciousness reducible? Psychophysical reduction: concluding remarks. (shrink)
In The Nature of Consciousness, Mark Rowlands develops an innovative and radical account of the nature of phenomenal consciousness, one that has significant consequences for attempts to find a place for it in the natural order. The most significant feature of consciousness is its dual nature: consciousness can be both the directing of awareness and that upon which awareness is directed. Rowlands offers a clear and philosophically insightful discussion of the main positions in this fast-moving debate, (...) and argues that the phenomenal aspects of conscious experience are aspects that exist only in the directing of experience towards non-phenomenal objects, a theory that undermines reductive attempts to explain consciousness in terms of what is not conscious. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the philosophy of mind and language, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Abstract The subjectivity of conscious experience is a central feature of our mental life that puzzles philosophers of mind. Conscious mental representations are presented to me as mine, others remain unconscious. How can we make sense of the difference between them? Some representationalists (e.g. Tye) attempt to explain it in terms of non-conceptual intentional content, i.e. content for which one need not possess the relevant concept required in order to describe it. Hanna claims that Kant purports to explain the subjectivity (...) of conscious experience in this way. This paper examines this claim in some detail in the context of a more general criticism of this kind of attempt to explain subjectivity and proposes a different reading of Kant that also leads to an alternative account of subjectivity independent from content. (shrink)
Contrary to certain rumours, the mind-body problem is alive and well. So argues Joseph Levine in Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness . The main argument is simple enough. Considerations of causal efficacy require us to accept that subjective experiential, or 'phenomenal', properties are realized in basic non-mental, probably physical properties. But no amount of knowledge of those physical properties will allow us conclusively to deduce facts about the existence and nature of phenomenal properties. This failure of deducibility constitutes (...) an explanatory problem - an explanatory gap - but does not imply the existence of immaterial mental properties. Levine introduced this notion of the explanatory gap almost two decades ago. Purple Haze allows Levine to situate the explanatory gap in a broader philosophical context. He engages with those who hold that the explanatory gap is best understood as implying anti-materialist metaphysical conclusions. But he also seeks to distance himself from contemporary naturalistic philosophical theorizing about consciousness by arguing that reductive and eliminative theories of consciousness all fail. Levine's work is best seen as an attempt to firmly establish a definite status for the mind-body problem, i.e. that the mind-body problem is a real, substantive epistemological problem but emphatically not a metaphysical one. Because Levine's work is tightly focused upon contemporary Anglophone analytic philosophy of mind, there is little discussion of the broader conceptual background to the mind-body problem. My aim here is to place Levine's work in a broader conceptual context. In particular, I focus on the relationship between consciousness and intentionality in the belief that doing so will allow us better to understand and evaluate Levine's arguments and their place in contemporary theorizing about mentality and consciousness. (shrink)
Not all research in machineconsciousness aims to instantiate phenomenal states in artefacts. For example, one can use artefacts that do not themselves have phenomenal states, merely to simulate or model organisms that do. Nevertheless, one might refer to all of these pursuits -- instantiating, simulating or modelling phenomenal states in an artefact -- as 'synthetic phenomenality'. But there is another way in which artificial agents (be they simulated or real) may play a crucial role in understanding or (...) creating consciousness: 'synthetic phenomenology'. Explanations involving specific experiential events require a means of specifying the contents of experience; not all of them can be specified linguistically. One alternative, at least for the case of visual experience, is to use depictions that either evoke or refer to the content of the experience. Practical considerations concerning the generation and integration of such depictions argue in favour of a synthetic approach: the generation of depictions through the use of an embodied, perceiving and acting agent, either virtual or real. Synthetic phenomenology, then, is the attempt to use the states, interactions and capacities of an artificial agent for the purpose of specifying the contents of conscious experience. This paper takes the first steps toward seeing how one might use a robot to specify the non- conceptual content of the visual experience of an (hypothetical) organism that the robot models. (shrink)
This review summarises why it is difficult for Darwinian evolutionary theory to explain the existence and function of consciousness. It then evaluates whether Humphrey's book Soul Dust overcomes these problems. According to Humphrey, consciousness is an illusion constructed by the brain to enhance reproductive fitness by motivating creatures that have it to stay alive. Although the review entirely accepts that consciousness gives a first-person meaning to existence, it concludes that Humphrey does not give a convincing account of (...) how this can arise from random variations in the genome. Nor does he demonstrate how first-person experiences might enter into or be reducable to third-person functioning. The review concludes that Humphrey's case is unconvincing, and goes on to suggest that an entirely different, non-reductive approach may be required to understand consciousness. (shrink)
Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their members (...) for their existence, but the members of an organization can be where the organization is not. The designated office of an organization, however, need be little more than a mailbox. I argue that the problem can be solved by conceptualizing the relation between social entities and non-social entities as one of constitution, a relation of unity without identity. Constituted objects have properties that cannot be reduced to properties of the constituting objects. Thus, my attempt to solve the Location Problem results in an argument in favor of a kind of non-reductive materialism about the social. (shrink)
One dimension of a comprehensive semantic and semiotic theory is its explanation of how a wide-variety of linguistic expressions designate singular objects (e.g., pronouns, demonstratives, definite descriptions, etc.). The bulk of scholarship on Peirce's theory of proper names has aligned his theory with the so called new theory of reference by drawing connections between proper names qua rhematic indexical legisigns (a kind of sign in Peirce's 10-sign typology) and various aspects of Kripke's theory of names.2 Recent scholarship has navigated away (...) from indexing Kripke-Peirce affinities and has begun the process of articulating a semiotic or pragmatic theory of names that is distinctly Peircean. For example .. (shrink)