Artificial Consciousness/Philosophy of Mind

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Philosophy of Mind

In order to understand consciousness and why it is so difficult for philosophy to deal with we need a little background in philosophy, you can get a good introduction from Historical Introduction to Philosophy

However this is a general introduction, if you don't want to take the time for a general history of philosophy you might prefer one of the following links

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Caution should be taken following the links in the above links because they are organized for a separate course and you may lose your way.

The List is not exhaustive, if only because I am not a philosopher, and so only worry about the philosophy when it directly impacts my work. Others may want to flesh this section out, if only because philosophy related to thought has been a major topic of discussion by philosophers since time immemorial.

Most Proponents of Artificial Consciousness are Monists, in that they don't believe there is anything in the Mind that cannot be explained by the Brain. However some are exotic forms of dualists, that just believe that the Mind Stuff that isn't explained by the brain, can be explained by the software or equivalent that runs on top of the physical brain. There are many schools of philosophy that argue that Artificial Consciousness will be impossible to produce. Whether or not they are right, seems to depend very heavily on what definition you use for consciousness



One Hypothesis of Computational Sufficiency, Ray Jackendoff(1987) states: Every phenomenological distinction is caused by/supported by/projected from a corresponding computational distinction

To support this, consider the following link: David Chalmers paper on Computational Sufficiency

I am strongly of the belief that soft computing, and satisfycing systems can account for some of the functions of the brain, and that these are forms of computation, even if they are not "Truth Preserving Functions" in and of themselves.

One very prolific discussion on PhilPapers is the Explanatory Gap Thread where philosophers from Universities all over the world are discussing the idea that there is an explanatory gap between the physical systems we know the brain uses, and the phenomenal effects such as feelings that the individual experiences. There seem to be three or four opinions,

  1. the explanatory gap exists and never will be bridged
  2. the explanatory gap exists and will eventually be bridged
  3. the explanatory gap doesn't exist, what exists is a philosophical error
  4. the explanatory gap doesn't exist, because that assumes that it could be bridged at some point in the future and it won't be because we don't know what it feels like to be a bat and we will never know.

This type of argument is often found when we try to deal with the phenomenal aspects of the mind, without understanding how they map to the Physical Mechanisms and functions we know the mind performs.

--Graeme E. Smith 04:38, 15 May 2009 (UTC)


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