Extending the medium hypothesis: The Dennett-Mangan controversy and beyond

Journal of Mind and Behavior 25 (3):237-257 (2004)
Mangan’s hypothesis, that consciousness is an information-bearing medium, presents an alternative to Dennett’s brand of functionalism, and Dennett’s counterattacks have yet to address Mangan’s main assertion. The medium hypothesis does not entail Cartesian theater assumptions concerning the localization, causal status, and “filling in” of consciousness in the brain. In principle, it is compatible with distributed information transfer between different media, epiphenomenalism, and gaps in visual experience. However, Mangan’s strongest empirical argument, based on consciousness’ limited “bandwidth,” does not necessarily show that transduction between media of different information-bearing capacities occurs between the brain and consciousness. The features of consciousness that he attributes to a lower bandwidth medium can be explained in terms of functional constraints on a single medium. Furthermore, empirical results showing gaps and anomalies in visual experience speak against consciousness being a medium
Keywords Consciousness  Functionalism  Medium  Metaphysics  Realizability
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