Function and feeling machines: a defense of the philosophical conception of subjective experience

Philosophical Studies 166 (2):349-361 (2013)
Authors
Wesley Buckwalter
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
Philosophers of mind typically group experiential states together and distinguish these from intentional states on the basis of their purportedly obvious phenomenal character. Sytsma and Machery (Phil Stud 151(2): 299–327, 2010) challenge this dichotomy by presenting evidence that non-philosophers do not classify subjective experiences relative to a state’s phenomenological character, but rather by its valence. However we argue that S&M’s results do not speak to folk beliefs about the nature of experiential states, but rather to folk beliefs about the entity to which those experiential states are attributed. In two experiments, we demonstrate that ordinary attributions of subjective experiences (of smell and felt emotions) to a simple robot are not sensitive to valence, but instead respond to functional assumptions about the entity to which the states are (or are not) attributed
Keywords Philosophy of mind  Phenomenal consciousness  Subjective experience  Experimental philosophy  Mental state attribution  Function
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0039-9
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References found in this work BETA

On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
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Citations of this work BETA

The Past and Future of Experimental Philosophy.Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):123 – 149.
Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise.Wesley Buckwalter - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):378-410.

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