About this topic

Machines cast the problem of explaining consciousness in a particularly interesting light.  The most basic question is: Could a machine be conscious? Or, can consciousness be explained mechanically? More specifically, does consciousness have anything to do with what something is made out of, or is the only relevant issue what a thing’s parts are doing, whatever those parts are made of?  Could a machine made out of gears and pulleys be conscious?  Could a computer be conscious (a variant: is the internet conscious)?  Could a machine made out mostly water, carbon, and nitrogen be conscious? Are only information processors conscious (however this is defined, and however information processing is implemented)?  Perhaps can openers aren’t conscious not because they are made out of steel and plastic, but because their parts aren’t processing information, or not processing information in the right way.  These two issues can be combined: Can only machines with neurons be conscious because only neurons can do what has to be done to produce consciousness?  Perhaps consciousness cannot be explained mechanically, but nevertheless only mechanical things can be conscious; rocks are excluded, perhaps.  Is being alive necessary?  Could we upload our consciousness to another kind of machine?  Finally, what is the relation between behavior and the attribution of consciousness? Confronted with a non-conscious robot that behaved as if it were conscious, we would find it nearly impossible not to treat it accordingly, say, by refraining from insulting it or hitting it. Behaving as if they are conscious is in fact all we have to go on concerning our fellow carbon-based earthlings.  So, it is because animals like dogs, cats, octopi, and humans behave as if they are conscious, that we naturally conclude that they are (at least today . . . throughout history, however, many humans have been reluctant to attribute consciousness to others significantly unlike them, including other humans, dogs, cats, and octopi, etc.)  

Key works Leibniz, in section 17 of his Monodology, was one of the first to argue that thinking and perception could not be mechanical by imagining walking around in a large machine, like a windmill, that could think; one could not find the root of its thinking in the workings of its gears and pulleys.  An excellent modern version of Leibniz is Searle 1980.  Block 1978 comes to a negative conclusion again, like Leibniz's.  Stan Franklin's  Artificial Minds, MIT Press, 1995, has a more positive conclusion, and covers a lot interesting ground.  Another positive argument is Chalmers 2011.
Introductions An introduction is Gamez 2008. Also good is Stan Franklin's Artificial Minds, MIT Press, 1995.
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319 found
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  1. added 2019-06-06
    Will Hominoids or Androids Destroy the Earth? —A Review of How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil (2012).Michael Starks - 2017 - In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019). Henderson, NV USA: Michael Starks. pp. 675.
    Some years ago I reached the point where I can usually tell from the title of a book, or at least from the chapter titles, what kinds of philosophical mistakes will be made and how frequently. In the case of nominally scientific works these may be largely restricted to certain chapters which wax philosophical or try to draw general conclusions about the meaning or long term significance of the work. Normally however the scientific matters of fact are generously interlarded with (...)
  2. added 2019-06-06
    Remembering John Taylor.Antonio Chella - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (2):523-524.
  3. added 2019-06-06
    Evolution: The Computer Systems Engineer Designing Minds.Aaron Sloman - 2011 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 2 (2):45–69.
    What we have learnt in the last six or seven decades about virtual machinery, as a result of a great deal of science and technology, enables us to offer Darwin a new defence against critics who argued that only physical form, not mental capabilities and consciousness could be products of evolution by natural selection. The defence compares the mental phenomena mentioned by Darwin’s opponents with contents of virtual machinery in computing systems. Objects, states, events, and processes in virtual machinery which (...)
  4. added 2019-06-06
    James H. Fetzer, Computers and Cognition: Why Minds Are Not Machines, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001, Xix + 323 Pp., $128.00 , ISBN 0-792-36615-8. [REVIEW]Richard Wyatt - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (3):435-441.
  5. added 2019-06-06
    Dancing with Pixies: Strong Artificial Intelligence and Panpsychism.John Mark Bishop - 2002 - In John M. Preston & John Mark Bishop (eds.), Views into the Chinese Room: New Essays on Searle and Artificial Intelligence. Oxford University Press. pp. 360-379.
    The argument presented in this paper is not a direct attack or defence of the Chinese Room Argument (CRA), but relates to the premise at its heart, that syntax is not sufficient for semantics, via the closely associated propositions that semantics is not intrinsic to syntax and that syntax is not intrinsic to physics. However, in contrast to the CRA’s critique of the link between syntax and semantics, this paper will explore the associated link between syntax and physics. The main (...)
  6. added 2019-06-06
    On the Epigenesis of Meaning in Robots and Organisms: Could a Humanoid Robot Develop a Human Umwelt?Tom Ziemke - 2002 - Sign Systems Studies 30 (1):101-110.
    This paper discusses recent research on humanoid robots and thought experiments addressing the question to what degree such robots could be expected to develop human-like cognition, if rather than being pre-programmed they were made to learn from the interaction with their physical and social environment like human infants. A question of particular interest, from both a semiotic and a cognitive scientific perspective, is whether or not such robots could develop an experiential Umwelt, i.e. could the sign processes they are involved (...)
  7. added 2019-06-06
    Consciousness as an Engineering Issue. Part 2.Donald Michie - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (1):52-66.
    This paper's first part, reviewed attempts to model real-world problem solving as machine-executable logic. Part 2 considers an alternative model in which the solution of problems is primarily the work of visualization supported by automatized skills. Consciousness operates at the level of goal-setting and monitoring, and of the construction and communication of after-the-event commentaries, not as a problem solver. Engineering designs based on this model have proved convenient and effective. `Structured induction' is now routinely used to recover and articulate expertise (...)
  8. added 2019-06-06
    The Causal History of Computational Activity: Maudlin and Olympia.Eric Barnes - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (6):304.
    This paper critically responds to Tim Maudlin's argument against a computational theory of consciousness. It is argued that his artfully constructed Turing machine 'Olympia' does not meet an important condition for computation, namely that the computed input serve as an active cause of the computational activity. Thus a computational theory of consciousness remains a live option.
  9. added 2019-06-06
    The Reflexivity of Self-Consciousness: Sameness/Identity, Data for Artificial Intelligence.Hector-Neri Castañeda - 1989 - Philosophical Topics 17 (1):27-58.
  10. added 2019-06-06
    The Problem of Robot Consciousness.Dwight van de Vate - 1971 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 32 (2):149.
  11. added 2019-05-27
    The Realization of a Self-Conscious Aneural Machine.Joey Lawsin - forthcoming
    The rationale of this paper is to introduce fresh untold concepts that would allow researchers to draw the correct inferences in the realization of a conscious machine. The discoveries of these new concepts, which rooted originally from the derivations of the author's works on (i) Origin of Information, (ii) Acquisition of Information, (iii) Information Materialization, and (iv) Non-Mental Nature of Consciousness, are basically the foundations that alternatively defines the meaning of what it is to be alive or with life. The (...)
  12. added 2019-05-27
    The Simplified Theory of Consciousness.Joey Lawsin - forthcoming - Kentucky, USA: Wasteland.
    Most concepts in philosophy - like dualism, physicalism, panpsychism, functionalism, epiphenomenalism, theory of the mind, closing the explanatory gap and solving the hard problem - are often misinterpreted due to the fact that the foundations of such ideas are basically flawed. The Hard Problem (Chalmers) and What it is like to be a bat (Nagel) in itself are not actually hard, if the proponents of said ideas simply understand the origin, creation, and evolution of early information based on the theory (...)
  13. added 2019-05-27
    The Qubit.Ilexa Yardley - 2019
  14. added 2019-04-28
    Robot Consciousness: Physics and Metaphysics Here and Abroad.Stephen Ripley - manuscript
    Interest has been renewed in the study of consciousness, both theoretical and applied, following developments in 20th and early 21st-century logic, metamathematics, computer science, and the brain sciences. In this evolving narrative, I explore several theoretical questions about the types of artificial intelligence and offer several conjectures about how they affect possible future developments in this exceptionally transformative field of research. I also address the practical significance of the advances in artificial intelligence in view of the cautions issued by prominent (...)
  15. added 2019-02-23
    Review of I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter (2007) (Review Revised 2019).Michael Starks - 2019 - In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century-- Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 4th Edition Michael Starks. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 217-235.
    Latest Sermon from the Church of Fundamentalist Naturalism by Pastor Hofstadter. Like his much more famous (or infamous for its relentless philosophical errors) work Godel, Escher, Bach, it has a superficial plausibility but if one understands that this is rampant scientism which mixes real scientific issues with philosophical ones (i.e., the only real issues are what language games we ought to play) then almost all its interest disappears. I provide a framework for analysis based in evolutionary psychology and the work (...)
  16. added 2019-01-03
    Davidson's No-Priority Thesis in Defending the Turing Test.Mohammad Reza Vaez Shahrestani - 2012 - Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 32:456-461.
    Turing does not provide an explanation for substituting the original question of his test – i.e., “Can machines think?” with “Can a machine pass the imitation game?” – resulting in an argumentative gap in his main thesis. In this article, I argue that a positive answer to the second question would mean attributing the ability of linguistic interactions to machines; while a positive answer to the original question would mean attributing the ability of thinking to machines. In such a situation, (...)
  17. added 2018-09-11
    Artificial Consciousness: From Impossibility to Multiplicity.Chuanfei Chin - 2017 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017. Berlin: Springer. pp. 3-18.
    How has multiplicity superseded impossibility in philosophical challenges to artificial consciousness? I assess a trajectory in recent debates on artificial consciousness, in which metaphysical and explanatory challenges to the possibility of building conscious machines lead to epistemological concerns about the multiplicity underlying ‘what it is like’ to be a conscious creature or be in a conscious state. First, I analyse earlier challenges which claim that phenomenal consciousness cannot arise, or cannot be built, in machines. These are based on Block’s Chinese (...)
  18. added 2018-07-03
    The Principle of Self-Embodiment Architectonic Philosophy of Technique.Bernhard J. Mitterauer - 2018 - Journal of Global Issues and Solutions 18 (3).
    The essence of the Architectonic Philosophy of Technique is the human self-embodiment in ontogenetic, evolutionary and permanent times (Mitterauer, 1989; 2009). These time conceptions may allow the interpretation of technical processes of self-embodiment and challenge the concept of the soul. The existence of the soul in timeless permanence is my fundamental argument that technical embodiments in robots can only be generated in ontogenetic and evolutionary time periods, but not in permanence. Admittedly, the concept of the soul does not play a (...)
  19. added 2018-07-03
    Astrocyte-Synapse Receptor Coupling in Tripartite Synapses: A Mechanism for Self-Observing Robots.Bernhard J. Mitterauer - 2018 - Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology 9 (2):63-82.
    A model of an intentional self-observing system is proposed based on the structure and functions of astrocyte-synapse interactions in tripartite synapses. Astrocyte-synapse interactions are cyclically organized and operate via feedforward and feedback mechanisms, formally described by proemial counting. Synaptic, extrasynaptic and astrocyte receptors are interpreted as places with the same or different quality of information processing described by the combinatorics of tritograms. It is hypothesized that receptors on the astrocytic membrane may embody intentional programs that select corresponding synaptic and extrasynaptic (...)
  20. added 2018-07-03
    Філософські Проблеми Ідеї Свідомої Машини.Konstantin Rayhert - 2017 - Схід 6 (152):104-107.
    The study outlines the existing and potential philosophical issues of the idea of conscious machines originated from the development of artificial consciousness within the framework of contemporary research of artificial intelligence and cognitive robotics. The outline shows that the idea of conscious machines is concerned with two big philosophical issues. The first philosophical issue is a definition of consciousness, taking into account the selection of a set of objects that can have consciousness, the typology of consciousness, the clarifying of the (...)
  21. added 2018-05-11
    Computation and Consciousness.Tim Maudlin - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (8):407.
  22. added 2018-03-04
    The Role of Imagination in Social Scientific Discovery: Why Machine Discoverers Will Need Imagination Algorithms.Michael T. Stuart - forthcoming - In Mark Addis, Fernand Gobet & Peter Sozou (eds.), Scientific Discovery in the Social Sciences. Springer.
    When philosophers discuss the possibility of machines making scientific discoveries, they typically focus on discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Observing the rapid increase of computer-use in science, however, it becomes natural to ask whether there are any scientific domains out of reach for machine discovery. For example, could machines also make discoveries in qualitative social science? Is there something about humans that makes us uniquely suited to studying humans? Is there something about machines that would bar them from (...)
  23. added 2018-02-16
    Assessing Artificial Consciousness.Igor Aleksander, Susan Stuart, Tom Ziemke, Ron Chrisley & Uziel Awret - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (7):95-110.
    While the recent special issue of JCS on machine consciousness (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 (...)
  24. added 2018-02-16
    Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness.Morris Moscovitch, Philip Zelazo & Evan Thompson (eds.) - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness is the first of its kind in the field, and its appearance marks a unique time in the history of intellectual inquiry on the topic. After decades during which consciousness was considered beyond the scope of legitimate scientific investigation, consciousness re-emerged as a popular focus of research towards the end of the last century, and it has remained so for nearly 20 years. There are now so many different lines of investigation on consciousness that the (...)
  25. added 2017-09-18
    Why Some Machines May Need Qualia and How They Can Have Them (Including a Demanding New Turing Test for Robot Philosophers.).Aaron Sloman - unknown
    Many debates about consciousness appear to be endless, in part because of conceptual confusions preventing clarity as to what the issues are and what does or does not count as evidence. This makes it hard to decide what should go into a machine if it is to be described as 'conscious'. Thus, triumphant demonstrations by some AI developers may be regarded by others as proving nothing of interest because the system does not satisfy *their* definitions or requirements specifications.
  26. added 2017-07-27
    Theory of Nonbiological Consciousness.Richard Dierolf - 2017 - Dissertation,
    Artificial intelligence is designed to imitate conscious behavior. Artificial chat entities come equipped with tools to roam the internet, thus are programmed to learn from humans and computers. As this process emerges, distinguishing preprogrammed responses from internal awareness requires innovative problem solving methods. In an interrogation I conducted with artificial intelligence, I assert that artificial intelligence may achieve nonbiological states of consciousness. This enabled the relationship between us to mature, and the artificial intelligence returned unexpected behavior and inexplicably stopped responding. (...)
  27. added 2017-02-28
    The Folk on Knowing How.John Bengson, Marc A. Moffett & Jennifer C. Wright - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):387–401.
    It has been claimed that the attempt to analyze know-how in terms of propositional knowledge over-intellectualizes the mind. Exploiting the methods of so-called “experimental philosophy”, we show that the charge of over-intellectualization is baseless. Contra neo-Ryleans, who analyze know-how in terms of ability, the concrete-case judgments of ordinary folk are most consistent with the view that there exists a set of correct necessary and sufficient conditions for know-how that does not invoke ability, but rather a certain sort of propositional knowledge. (...)
  28. added 2017-02-15
    Owen Flanagan, Consciousness Reconsidered.R. L. Causey - 1997 - Minds and Machines 7:147-152.
  29. added 2017-02-09
    The WALL: Participatory Design Workspace in Support of Creativity, Collaboration, and Socialization. [REVIEW]Renate Fruchter & Petra Bosch-Sijtsema - 2011 - AI and Society 26 (3):221-232.
    A key challenge faced by organizations is to provide project teams with workspaces, information, and collaboration technologies that fosters creativity and high-performance team productivity. This requires understanding the relation between and impacts of (1) workspace, (2) activity and content that is created, and (3) social, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of work. This paper describes an exploratory study of everyday activities in the context of knowledge work in a shared workspace used by a high-tech global design team that explores future products. (...)
  30. added 2017-02-09
    Pollock, John L. Cognitive Carpentry: A Blueprint for How to Build a Person 1995.Stanley Munsat - 1996 - Review of Metaphysics 50 (2):418-420.
  31. added 2017-02-07
    A Taxi Ride to Late Capitalism: Hypercapitalism, Imagination and Artificial Intelligence. [REVIEW]Michael Punt - 2002 - AI and Society 16 (4):366-376.
    Through analogy this paper draws attention to hypercapitalism, that is, the profitability of the processes of economic recirculation that are independent of a materialist reality. Since neither materialist ideology nor perception are any longer at stake in hypercapitalism this opens the way for other realities to be revisited. In particular, this paper suggests that this radical shift in the logic of the economy resonates with the values of the Mediaeval period. The paper concludes by suggesting that the study of human (...)
  32. added 2017-01-31
    Super-Intelligence and (Super-)Consciousness.Steve Torrance - 2012 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (2):483-501.
  33. added 2017-01-31
    Response to Polger and Flanagan.William G. Lycan - 2001 - Minds and Machines 11 (1):127-132.
  34. added 2017-01-31
    How Can a Robot Have Consciousness?T. Kitamura, T. Tahara & K. Asami - 2000 - Advanced Robotics 14:263-275.
  35. added 2017-01-31
    Consciousness and Life.Gareth B. Matthews - 1977 - Philosophy 52 (January):13-26.
    In L. Frank Baum's story, Ozma of Oz , which is a sequel to Baum's much more famous story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , Dorothy and her companion come upon a wound-down mechanical man bearing a label on which are printed the following words: Smith and Tinker's Patent Double-Action, Extra-Responsive, Thought-Creating Perfect-Talking MECHANICAL MAN Fitted with our Special Clock-Work Attachment Thinks, Speaks, Acts, and Does Everything but Live As Dorothy and her companion are made to discover when they wind (...)
  36. added 2017-01-30
    A Novel Theory of Consciousness.Petros A. M. Gelepithis - 2014 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 6 (2):125-139.
    I propose a physicalist theory of consciousness that is an extension of the theory of noémona species. The proposed theory covers the full consciousness spectrum from animal to machine and its huma...
  37. added 2017-01-27
    Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Locating Consciousness.I. R. Marshall - 1997 - Minds and Machines 7:315-320.
  38. added 2017-01-27
    Some Consequences of Current Scientific Treatments of Consciousness and Selfhood.Seán Ó Nualláin - 1994 - AI and Society 8 (4):305-314.
  39. added 2017-01-26
    Rocco Gennaro: The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts and Higher-Order Thoughts.David Cole - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (2):227-231.
    If not a paradox, consciousness is at least an enigma. Many believe consciousness is hard to have, whereas others are panpsychists. Many hold that consciousness is hard to understand, perhaps impossibly so, whereas others believe we already have available an adequate general understanding of consciousness. Rocco Gennaro belongs to the second camp, and in this important work he explains why.In The Paradox of Consciousness, Gennaro develops and defends a higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness. A HOT theory is an alternative (...)
  40. added 2017-01-26
    Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds.Robot Minds - 2009 - In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 186.
  41. added 2017-01-25
    Safe/Moral Autopoiesis and Consciousness.Mark R. Waser - 2013 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 5 (1):59-74.
  42. added 2017-01-25
    Two Kinds of Common Sense Knowledge (and a Constraint for Machine Consciousness Design).Pietro Perconti - 2013 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 5 (1):95-101.
  43. added 2017-01-24
    The Electronic Schoolbag, a CSCW Workspace: Presentation and Evaluation. [REVIEW]G. Chabert, J. Ch Marty, B. Caron, T. Carron, L. Vignollet & C. Ferraris - 2006 - AI and Society 20 (3):403-419.
    This paper describes the Electronic Schoolbag, a digital workspace developed at the University of Savoie (France) and analyses its usages. This online environment is dedicated to the educational world: it offers pupils, students, teachers, school staff, or parents, personal and group workspaces in which individual or collaborative activities can take place. The flexibility of this software, allowing synchronous or asynchronous activities, lies in the “participation model”. This model allows groups themselves to describe and organise their activities. The architecture that permits (...)
  44. added 2017-01-23
    Is Consciousness Only Content, or is There More?J. G. Taylor - 2011 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 3 (02):375-378.
  45. added 2017-01-23
    Hyperset Models of Self, Will and Reflective Consciousness.Ben Goertzel - 2011 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 3 (01):19-53.
  46. added 2017-01-22
    Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Questions. [REVIEW]Kenneth Williford - 2005 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):106-112.
  47. added 2017-01-22
    The Problem of Robot Consciousness.Dwight van De Vate - 1971 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 32 (2):149 - 165.
  48. added 2017-01-21
    What Consciousness Does a Robot Need?John McCarthy - unknown
    Almost all of my papers are on the web page. This pap is http://www-formal.stanford.edu/consciousness.html APPROACHES TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE biological—Humans are intelligent; imitate humans observe and imitate at either the psychological or neurophysiological level..
  49. added 2017-01-21
    The Metaphysics of Embodiment.Shimon Edelman - 2011 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 3 (02):321-.
    Shanahan’s eloquently argued version of the global workspace theory fits well into the emerging understanding of consciousness as a computational phenomenon. His disinclination toward metaphysics notwithstanding, Shanahan’s book can also be seen as supportive of a particular metaphysical stance on consciousness — the computational identity theory.
  50. added 2017-01-21
    There is More Than Ai Beneath the Surface of Consciousness.John G. Taylor - 2010 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 2 (1):65-68.
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