Functionalism's response to the problem of absent qualia

Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):357-73 (1996)
Authors
Valerie G. Hardcastle
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
It seems that we could be physically the same as we are now, only we would lack conscious awareness. If so, then nothing about our physical world is necessary for qualitative experience. However, a proper analysis of psychological functionalism eliminates this problem concerning the possibility of zombies. ‘Friends of absent qualia’ rely on an overly simple view of what counts as a functional analysis and of the function/structure distinction. The level of thought is not the only level at which one might perform a functional analysis; all that is required for some description of a state to be functional is that it be defined in terms of its causal relations. Insofar as functionalism is not restricted to a higher level of analysis , then successful theories of consciousness should include whatever it is that makes those states have a qualitative character
Keywords Awareness  Consciousness  Functionalism  Qualia  Science  Self
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