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There is no general agreement in the interdisciplinary field known as “consciousness research studies” (or “consciousness studies” or “consciousness research;” take your pick).on exactly what the word “consciousness” means. This lack has not prevented a flourishing of such research, especially during the last two decades, any more than the a sence of a generally agreed upon definition of the word “life” has hindered the flourishing of the field of iology. The situation for consciousness research is actually more extreme than that, reminding one of the prover ial story of the four lind men and the elephant. !ersons claiming to e talking a out the mysteries of consciousness or to have solved them often seem to e talking right past each other a out some very different things. This ook contains reviews, originally written for the "ew #ork $eview of %ooks, of six significant ooks or sets of ooks y ma&or authors in the field. 'dditionally, it contains summaries of the views of the reviewer, (ohn )earle, a professor of !hilosophy at %erkeley and himself a ma&or figure in the field. Together they cover many, though y no means all, of the differing views on the nature of consciousness and why it is a mystery, if indeed it is. *t is my hope that this ook may serve as a sort of +liff,s "otes, providing summaries of the essential points in texts without having to read the original ook entire. -ne thing it does offer that a +liff,s "otes can not is, in two cases, sets of letters heatedly exchanged etween the reviewer and the person reviewed following a review,s original pu lication. * have read some ut y no means all of these ook reviewed ooks, and do hope that anyone who has read one or more of them will participate actively in our discussion and correct me if at any point my interpretation seems to e wrong. Some divisions within the conscious studies community and how they manifest here: . ' ma&or division in the consciousness studies community exists on this .uestion. *f we could learn enough a out rain functioning to completely descri e and predict the entire chain of events from sensation and prior rain state through ehavior and new rain state and do it every time would we then have created a complete description of consciousness. )ome argue that if we were a le to do this not only would we still not have a complete description of consciousness ut possi ly we would e no further towards one than we were efore. )ome claim this final knowledge will always e eyond our understanding. )urprisingly perhaps, none of those who hold this latter view today do so ecause they elieve in what is now known as “su stance dualism,” the idea that our physical rains are somehow connected to non/physical minds. *n a very road sense all persons * know of who are currently participating in consciousness studies de ates are what were traditionally called “materialists.” 0hy some of them would deny the possi ility of completely understanding consciousness through traditional, “materialistic” scientific
*n this ook. *srael $osenfield and to some extent 5erald 6delman seem to fit. 'rtificial *ntelligence does not seem to have much influence on rain region studies. oth serve. 't the philosophical end of things the . rain scans and pathological dissections are not the only ways to study consciousness.” !sychologist 2aniel 0egner has descri ed them less neutrally as “the ro o/geeks” and “the ad scientists. The true relationship etween su &ectivity and o &ectivity and the possi ility of ever doing scientific research on the latter is a common point of contention for these people. sometimes throwing the word at their opponents as an accusation. one reason for the heartedness of their included exchange of letters. *ssues.agic and the %rain” which * shall e referring to later. no examples of this type of consciousness study in )earle. as exhi itions of a type of thinking a out consciousness that attempts to deal with seemingly fundamental issues which would exist as pro lems regardless of the detailed nature of the rain or the details of most ehavior. The “ro o/geeks” are the ones who elieve that such a complete sensation3 rain3 ehavior description.uently college students taking !sychology 181) which was already going on in the la oratories of 0illiam (ames and 0ilhelm 0undt well efore the end of the nineteenth century.research and even refuse to e called materialists. would e a complete description of consciousness.” using the insult that each group would most likely throw at the other as an identifier. 4inally. ut most fortunately the current (2ecem er. The con&ectures of mathematician3physicist $oger !enrose and some of the work of rain scientist 5erald 6delman serve as examples of this kind of research in this ook. There are. 7owever. the study of the ehavior of intact organisms (fre. )eemingly at the opposite end of ade. even today. is a matter much more su tle. there is the most traditional of experimental study of consciousness. *n general. )ir 4rancis +rick. elementary nerve nets within rain regions and the su /cellular functioning of neurons themselves (possi ly those of the other kinds of cells which together make up ninety percent of rain tissue as well) is needed. "o papers from the artificial intelligence community are included. if could it e created. *n this ook (ohn )earle himself serves as a nice example of the latter group while accusing 2ennett of eing a mem er of the former. 988:) issue of the )cientific 'merican contains and excellent example under the title of “.s ook. !hilosopher 2aniel 2ennett has descri ed these two groups neutrally as “the ' team” and “the % team. to me. unfortunately. )ome researchers elieve that a more thorough understanding of the at a more fundamental iological level. yet the influence of that topic is pervasive.uestion of whether or not a computer could ever e conscious seems to come up a out as often a discussions a out o &ectivity and su &ectivity. The “ ad scientists” are the ones who think such a description would e insufficient and sometimes accuse the ro o/geeks of actually denying the existence of consciousness even as they claim to study it. though computeri<ed analysis of rain scan data is often central 9 .uacy for experimental research &ust now are the neuroscientists and clinical neurologists studying &ust what effect various regions of the rain have on consciousness and how they coordinate their efforts.
7owever. ut the asic version is the one presented in this ook and is. mathematician and computer scientist in the %ritish philosophical &ournal .s “+hinese $oom” thought experiment may e the most referred to and most critici<ed such in contemporary consciousness studies. the person fluent in +hinese and understanding to topics of the . Now on to the individual chapters in the boo ! chapter by chapter" #.uestions) which * pass ack to those outside the room. “*magine that * (who do not understand +hinese) am locked in a room with oxes of +hinese sym ols and rule ooks descri ing what * am to do with these sym ols (my data ase).s own presentations of it. *n the @ . )earle sees this thought experiment as a refutation of the so/called “Turing test. . and * look up in the rule ooks (my program) what * am supposed to do. is often derided today as 5-4'*.uite unexpected. ?uestions in +hinese are passed to me ( unches of +hinese sym ols). ut even if this is true it still lifts )earle into the circle of ma&or philosophers currently working on “!hilosophy of .to it. *n the other case. )earle.ind” issues. in one instance a clerk (or a computer) with no understanding of +hinese has created the output &ust y manipulating sym ols according to rules. John Searle and $the Chinese room% (The $ediscovery of . 4inally “cognitive simulation” of human psychology. yet the outputs in each case may e identical.s. some of them . *n Turing. * perform operations on the sym ols in accordance with the rules and from these generate unches of sym ols (answers to the .uestions and.uoted elsewhere in this ook) may e correct that this is the only ma&or idea that )earle has ever had. 4urthermore. To paraphrase one of )earle.ind in 1=>>. ut like 5od it seems to keep hanging around however many times it is declared dead. *n one version men and women all try to convince the &udges that they are really men.uestions. elow that level computer modeling is making a ig contri ution with “artificial neural networks” having moved eyond rain research and into a num er of applications. * think.uestions simply uses his or her understanding too translate and answer the .any variations upon it have een presented y oth )earle himself and (seemingly inumerical) critics of his over the years.s point is that something very different has happened in the room in each case. the power of massively multiprocessor computers (not artificially intelligent) is finally on the verge of permitting research on su /cellular processes y simulating the interactions of individual atoms. sufficient for our purposes. originally named in the 1=>8.ind and other works) )earle.s thought experiment &udges are allowed to communicate with parties to e tested only y Teletype or the e. standing for 5ood -ld 4ashion '*. The asic thought experiment is not difficult to understand. 4ellow philosopher 2aniel 2ennett (.uivalent.” 'gain imagine the room says )earle ut this time imagine that it contains a person fluent in +hinese who simply reads the passed in . simply writes out the answers in +hinese and passes those answers ack out of the room.” a thought experiment pu lished y that chemist. understanding them.
computers can not really do simple arithmetic.e.” and that it is humans not computers or programs that “understand” that the sym ols eing typed in or displayed descri e num ers and operations to e performed on num ers. an article in the on/line maga<ine )alon few years ago y &ournalist Tracy ?uan on 'rtificial *ntelligence and her participation in such an experiment.com3may=B391st3artificial=B8>1>. -nce hotly de ated. *n fairness to Turing. * find it interesting that at the same time that the topic of machine “consciousness” has gained respecta ility on the intellectual scene the earlier . not a su &ective one. iological function of D . )earle has now taken his argument against machine “understanding” much further in this ook and elsewhere than he did with his original version of the +hinese room. he says. he did not claim that his hypothesi<ed test would help in deciding the . rules a out language). 7e argues that. *n contrast the term “semantics” is used to descri e rules for relating language statements to the thing eing descri ed. &ust as digestion is a natural. 0hat he and they were discussing in the mid/twentieth century was the possi ility of machine “intelligence.insky and others at .” "either he nor any of his contemporaries that * am aware of ever discussed that issue. real humans and 'rtificial *ntelligence programs all try to convince the &udges that they are really human. -nly the results were to count.uestion of machine “consciousness. for example. for example.*T coined the term “'rtificial *ntelligence” they defined it as referring to hardware3software systems which could perform acts “which would e descri ed as intelligent if performed y a human. 7owever.salon. )ee. 6xperiments of this kind have actually een carried out numerous times since the pu lication of Turing. the “meaning” of sentences in other words.uestion of machine “intelligence” seems to have disappeared. e.” which would seem to imply a strictly ehavioral trait. 0hat does )earle have to say a out consciousness then where it does show up.s article.version. a highly idiosyncratic restriction on the use of these words.t 2o and 0hat +omputers )till +an. which interested Turing more.t 2o. is that computers are uilt or programmed to manipulate “sym ols. link toA archive.g.arvin . 0hat does happen. *n the early sixties when . *n the customary voca ulary of natural language research. it seems that no one much now wants to argue against the possi ility of any sort of strictly ehavioral “intelligence” eing shown y computer/like hardware and software. among other areas. in rainsC 7e answers repeatedly that rains “cause” consciousness ecause it is a “natural” product of (some) iological systems. the term “syntax” is used to descri e grammar and other rules for forming and parsing sentences at the word level (i. 4or examples of arguments emphatically made efore such skepticism disappeared dig up copies of philosopher 7u ert 2reyfus ooks 0hat +omputers +an. )earle now insists repeatedly that since computers can never “understand” anything ( y his definition) programs can only do “syntactic” processing and never “semantic” processing of any kind.” *mplicit and intended in that definition was the idea that the process y which such acts were performed might e nothing like the processes that would e used y a human.
s the polymath philosopher 2escartes tried to formali<e his ideas a out the relationship etween mind and rain. &. *n this case tracing the flow of information through various speciali<ed rain centers (specifically the visual pathways) and attempting to prove or at least con&ecture how the ensem le manages to ehave. This is one of those ooks that may have een more important at time of pu lication for who wrote it than for what it contained. was pro a ly. ”Ep” in this case would include a simulation not only an entire rain ut also as much of the rest of the nervous system. To 2escartes this was > . it does not seem to me that it counters the opposite.s review of 2avid +halmers ideas.ight not one not say then that such a simulation might e simply a consciousness “causing” system whose materials are simulated atoms rather than real ones.a stomach. #et in other places he proclaims himself a “materialist” which presuma ly means that he is not a “vitalist” who elieves that the physical laws governing iological systems are somehow different from those governing non/ iological ones. 7e con&ectured (and presented it only as a con&ecture) that the interface where rain and mind connected to each other was the penal gland near the center of the rain. +rick. . Sir 'rancis Cric and the $bindin(% problem (The )cientific )earch for the )oul) 2espite its arresting title. at least su &ectively.s environment as necessary to reach a point where attachment to real world interfaces are possi le. one of the most recogni<ed and respected scientists of his time. )ir 4rancis +rick. experimental “ rain science” studies. -ne of creating simulated rains y simulating the interactions of the atoms that make up molecules and so on up. the famous +artesian dualism. )ome who have presented this argument have suggested that an appropriate real/world interface might e a humanoid ro ot with its sensors feeding into the simulated sensory nerves and the simulated motor nerves feeding into the ro ot ody. especially to the general pu lic. co/discoverer with 0atson of the structure of 2"'. 7is reason for this con&ecture was the knowledge that of all rain features then known only the penal gland was not lo ed into left and right halves. The fact that he had now een devoting himself for some time to the scientific study of the relationship of consciousness to the rain legitimi<ed such studies to a significant degree as something perused y reputa le scientists and not y &ust y somewhat weird people out on the fringe. 0hile the +hinese room argument would seem to counter top/down arguments for consciousness eing deriva le y writing programs to simulate externally o serva le ehavior. the ody and it. 'spects of this argument will come up again when discussing )earle. 't the same time he has said repeatedly that he elieves consciousness might e caused y systems made of materials other than the normal iological ones. as a single entity. *n the 1F88. The pro lem +rick was dealing with was one that has long een recogni<ed in consciousness research.s ook is a very mainstream example of contemporary.s effectors. top/down though experiment. )earle has countered this argument y saying that such a simulation would e only a simulation.
s 6xploring +onsciousness. %y the time +rick egan his work on rains and consciousness much was known a out the visual pathways from retinas through the occipital lo e at the ack of the head and various mid/ rain structures including the thalamus on multiple ranching and intersection routes up to and within the cere ral cortex.” 'n o &ection can e raised (and )earle dutifully raises it). much else (The $emem ered !resent etc.) 5erald 6delman is a rain scientist in a road sense.ind. it seems to me. so well captures the current view of Hmind” from rain science. The “ inding pro lem” as +rick reduced it to a rain function pro lem was “the pro lem of how neurons temporarily ecome active as a unit. 4or a very ela orate metaphor of how this works from a more recent ook see chapter four.” -ther researchers had already suggested that the solution might involve the synchroni<ed firing of neurons in areas responsive to different features of an o &ect such as shape. -n this point. ). where in many cases emerging potential sources for attention competitively recruit other areas for temporary colla oration.aking +onsciousation.arvin . making it an excellent focus for study.” in $ita +arter.s 'stonishing 7ypothesis research findings have een very good to ideas of “temporal synchroni<ation” as dynamic organi<ing principles in more and more types of rain activity. 4urthermore. This is ecause it would serve oth as an example of a ma&or ook on consciousness y an eminent 'rtificial *ntelligence researcher and also ecause its title. seem to know so intimately through introspection. “. researching and speculating on everything from molecular em ryology through neural networks and on into rain area coordination and theories of conscious functioning including the linguistic and sym olic processes. a view so different from the unary one which we. * wish that these reviews of )earles. That title.s ook )ociety of . as more and more rain research indicates that consciousness resides in a dynamic network of interacting ut highly distri uted areas and processes it would seem to ecome increasingly hard to tell one from the other if indeed they can e told apart.. writing.suggestive ecause he was sure through introspection that consciousness seems entirely unary despite the ilateral structure of most of the ody with two arms. he has where appropriate resorted to computer modeling including modeling of simulated ro ots. a whole area of consciousness research not previously in this ook and unfortunately not to e discussed again. had included on of . like 2escartes. color and movement. more was known then and pro a ly still is now a out information flow within the visual system than a out any other sense. 7owever.that what +rick and Goch seem to have discovered is an important mechanism underlying consciousness rather than consciousness itself. )ince the pu lication of +rick and Goch. +rick and his colleague +hris Goch took this idea further and suggested that particular firing rates in the range of thirty/five to seventy/five cycles per second ut most often around forty might e “the rain correlate of visual consciousness. F . *n fact. *erald +delman! brain maps! robots . legs and eyes etc.insky.
that proto/conscious processes evolve from. 6delman elieves that rain structures are not genetically programmed to grow gradually ut deterministically into some final form.s interest was in the inding of different feature recognition areas within the single sensory modality of vision. * elieve that the lack of such explanations is precisely the point. 7e does agree. the rain comes e. They have programmed complete simulated ro ots can learn coordination of simulated hands and eyes to explore their environments. takes on the inding pro lem. To egin at the ottom and e more specific. however. physiological structures in the rain. that some primitive levels of self3non/self recognition are genetically uilt in. and the ela orate structure they exhi it on the emergent creature is the result of the dying off of the unneeded parts.s fingers in the process of learning that they are part of its unary ody. $ather. more than thirty of them in the visual cortex alone. with what * see as un&ustified reification of “consciousness” and its “cause. and since B .s wings while in the cocoon are initially solid. he thinks. 4or example. a recurrent theme in his work has een processes of self/organi<ation from the neuronal through rain region co/evolution and on into the development of conscious skills such a language and ruminative self/awareness.5iven the readth of 6delman. 6delman. a literal cutting or whittling away. 6delman is most interested in the inding across sensory modalities leading progressively to the recognition and classification of o &ects repeatedly encountered. like +rick. *n attacking the multi/sensory inding pro lem 6delman emphasi<es what he calls “reentry mapping” ut most would refer to simply as feed ack from sheets of receptor cells providing more a stract representations of the individual. This "eural 2arwinism (the title of his ook on the su &ect) would e . 7owever.” critici<es 6delman for failing to precisely delineate the point at which unconscious processes ecome conscious ones or explain exactly how or why that transition occurs. discussed in the last section. a utterfly. These “maps” which 6delman refers to are literal. and the importance of feed ack structures in such networks has een amply demonstrated. 6xtensive work has een done on the feasi ility of such process through computer simulations of such networks. *t would not do to have a a y chew off it. Through Hreentry” entire ensem les evolve together. 7owever.s world ack to those closer to the sensory sources which provide the more primitive and underlying representations. 7owever.s group has gone eyond neural net simulations using simple sensory inputs such as lack white imaging of pictures into nets which self/organi<e so as to recogni<e letters in a variety of typefaces. . where +rick. )earle.s interests it was necessary for )earle in reviewing several of his ooks together to skip around somewhat and * shall do the same.uite in accord with developmental processes of many organs in many different creatures. with and into conscious ones in a coordinated and constantly shifting manner.uipped with an oversupply of neuronal groups some of which die out while others flourish due to self/organi<ing interaction with oth stimuli from the outside world and each other. 't the next level of organi<ation 6delman.
“this statement is false.” *f it is true then it must e correct when it says that it is false. !enrose argues that the a ility of humans to comprehend 5odel. here goesK Gurt 5odel developed his theorem in the mid/thirties. to most people.uantum mechanics.s Theorem and . very ig and difficult su &ects * feel like saying here. 4or true statements. a different proof if the num er is two and so on /L perhaps you can now get the general idea.uantum information processing” systems.enrose! *odel/s Theorem and 0uantum Computin( ()hadows of the . mathematically infinite. theoretically. 's a very simple example of such a statement consider this one. . )till. it must e possi le to prove that every single instance is true. : . ut if it is false then it must e e.uence directly at higher levels &ust as we sense motion directly at lower levels (all the way ack to the retinal nerves within the eyeJ) and not as a deduction from a succession of still images.ually certain that it is true. and for theorems a out sets of natural num ers the num er of specific instances can e literally. 7e further argues that this limit would also apply to conventional computers ut perhaps not to future “.s theorem in mathematical logic proves that all human thinking is not done using the "ewtonian physics that underlies conventional chemistry ut must utili<e some su /atomic properties of . *t proves that for any system of formal mathematics capa le of representing oth the addition and multiplication of positive whole num ers there will always e some true statements that can never e proven either true or false within the system itself. This only holds for true statements since. *magine some theorem which states that for ever num er it is true that (something or other) ut re. This dynamic view of memory will come up again when discussing the work of neurologist *srael $osenfield. -. )ince oth 5odel. y contrast.uires one proof in the case of the num er one. 4rom these approaches and results 6delman has moved up to con&ecturing similar self/organi<ing hierarchies to explain the gradual ac.s ook and !enrose ook. more than at any other point in this precis “go read the ooks. 0e experience time and se.” meaning oth )earle.this ook was written such work has een extended into constructing real ro ots capa le of exploring the real (la oratory) world and at times interacting with humans there. and so on ad infinitum.uisition of increasingly self/aware consciousness. any false statement can always e proven false y showing one particular instance where it is false.ind) *n a nutshell. Iital within this approach is a conception of memory as something constantly and dynamically organi<ed as part of the evolving complex rather than any sort of separate and passive storehouse. The way in which 5odel proved this was to show a way in any such num er system of constructing a statement that could never e proven either true or false ecause it was self/reverently contradictory. it says. hence his title The $emem ered !resent. Ro(er .uantum computing are.
eing one and the value of the second letter. 7ere. *t has not convinced me.uence of all prime num ers. %. so we are going to have two threes. 'lan Turing himself disproved some of these early attempts that were already around in his time. ut it is long and su tle enough so that * could not reproduce or criti. eing two.s theorem in this way that * have ever come across. and the value of the character. The reason is that it contains as an appendix a translation from the original 5erman of the complete theorem done y Gurt 5odel himself when he was a 4ellow at the !rinceton *nstitute of 'dvanced )tudies. ook at hand to go y. They have usually failed ecause ehavior L human or machine L is usually imitated y simulation. call it %. self/referential statement of the sort exemplified a few paragraphs ack and he was done.s an exampleA assume we have a two or more letter alpha et with the value of the first letter. in the early sixties. the second prime num er the se. second order prepositional calculus.s. and the value of the character. 7aving devised his coding scheme and assigned values to a minimal set of logical operators plus some varia les what 5odel did next was devise se.s theorem. !eople have een using 5odel. 0hat 5odel demonstrated in that paper was a way (&ust one of many) to encode any finite string of characters in a finite alpha et as a num er consisting of the product o tained y multiplying together a collection of prime num ers (num ers greater than one with no divisors except themselves and one) with the position of a prime in the se. %acking away for a moment and ack to the sort of issues that often preoccupy )earle it is never clear to me &ust what !enrose means y “seeing the truth” of 5odel. The complete paper is a out thirty/five pages long and like much in pure mathematics is actually more tedious than difficult. more precisely. '. the first of all prime num ers. which * do not currently have. That was the hard part. not y proving a stract properties. $oger !enrose has given the est attempt to use 5odel.s theorem which * very much wish * could lay my hands on &ust now to give here as a citation.uence of primes starting with the num er two representing the position of a character and the num er of times that prime occurs representing the value of the character in that position.* have a ook on 5odel. 5iven those definitions the “5odel num er” for the two character string '% can e calculated a followsA the first position is represented y a two. in that position is two.ue it without having !enrose. and given the num er 1: we could work ackward and unam iguously discover that the original string consisted of '%. ' way of always eing a le to create an unprova le and also undisprova le statement in any such num er system or one containing it had now een demonstrated. *f he means a ehavior such a reading a statement or set of statements and then printing out = . call it '. so we have one two. in that position is one. The second position is represented y three.uences of arithmetic operations which would do the same as the normal character manipulations in sym olic logic or.s theorem to try to prove that there are limits on what computers can do that humans are not su &ect to since at least the 1=D8. The 5odel num er for our string '% is therefore going to e 9 x (@ x @) or 9 x = or 1:. 0ith all of this paraphernalia in hand he could then show how to represent a self/contradictory.
7e states this not only 18 . %ut &ust what would those input statements and the output statement look like in detail. that he re&ects the idea of its existence completely. 7e states that he does elieve in consciousness ut that it. Their physical set/ups look like arrangements for very expensive physics experiments and asically are. another topic that * am not going to even try to get into hereJ 1.some kind of statement of the result.uisite calculations while keeping them separate from all other atoms for the entire (miniscule) time that the computations are going on./ its (again. #ou should e a le to sort of guess at the meaning * hope. ' ma&or pro lem in making .ore fundamentally. These in turn are the asis of cryptographic schemes that allow someone to encrypt a message without a clue as to how to decrypt it and vice versa. *f !enrose means “understand” in some su &ective sense L which * think he does not. can do. This is ecause it seems potentially capa le of decomposing very large num ers into their prime factors.t go into that here. conscious or unconscious in the latter case. "ow finally on to the second half of !enrose assertion. something that either a human or a machine.uantum laws !enrose wants to depend on are not those currently known ut new ones which he suspects may come to light from attempts to formulate “)uper 5ravity” unified field theories. ?uantum information is a very real topic currently eing frantically researched y the E) "ational )ecurity 'gency among others.s argument from his first chapter that no computer can ever understand anything.s not what )earle and many others intuitively think that it is.) *n this chapter of this ook )earle states repeatedly and often condescendingly that 2ennett does not elieve in consciousness. The ways in which they will e used when practical are likewise much more like physics experiments than like computer programming. and such codes are vital today to many oth military and commercial applications.uantum information processing of some kind. ut &ust in case L then we are ack to )earle. 2aniel 2ennett and consciousness re3ected or not (+onsciousness 6xplained et al. 0hen * first egan to read an article y him on this * suspected that was where he was heading and was pleased with myself when proven right. . either guess or read) to do re. ?uantum information processing is not a candidate to replace your !+ or even most scientific super/computers. +urrently. 2ennett sees it differently. many experts are saying that those microtu ules would not e suita le for that purpose. !enrose thinks that water molecules isolated in the cytoskelatical tu ules that help neurons keep their shape could provide suita le environments in which this could happen. and if !enrose does * wish he would pu lish them as examples in some new ook.s theorem proves that they must e a le to do . the . * do not know. and for exact definitions there are entire ooks out thereJ) enough atoms to represent enough .uantum computing practical is “entangling” (* won. that the a ility of humans to understand 5odel. and the ina ility to do so in any reasona le amount of time is the key (pun unavoida leC) to so/called “trap/door algorithms.
)earle. wonderfully and for a wonder.uarely and proudly on the “'” or “ro o/geek” team explained in my introduction. 0e should always make this clear in research studies wherever there might e any confusion. seems to think that su &ective experience provides the most certain evidence that we have a out consciousness. 2escartes is still remem ered a third of a millennium later for having said.e. 0hat this “methodological !uritanism. 0e infer the su &ective states of others y comparing them to real or imagined su &ective states of our own. 7e simply denies that they constitute a valid “scientific” method of drawing scientifically accurate conclusions. This is emphatically not a new issue in the study of consciousness. 2ennett does not deny that we use such methods or that they are fre. even of a different species.uite seldom. a . it says. To include such experiences “scientifically” they must e reported and evaluated in exactly the same way that a third person report from any other experimental su &ect would e. that others have functioned internally and su &ectively pretty much as we know that we would have from our direct and introspective examination of ourselves. which in practice seems to happen . we infer the consciousness of experimental su &ects from their “ver al ehavior. i. *n detail and in practice. prefera ly y several persons who can then compare their o servations.” to use a term coined y one of its critics. This is not ecause it always provides us with an accurate representation of the outside world ut ecause we can not deny the reality of our own thoughts and sensations as things that we have su &ectively experienced.” rain scans etc. Then we assume.s philosophical mentor 5il ert $yle. in contrast. )earle includes here immediately after the copy of his original review. doing so.in the ooks of his that )earle reviewed ut also in an exchange of letters etween them following )earle. which claims that relia le science can only e ased on things o serva le in the third person.” 11 . -ne is epistemic. unless the evidence forces us to think otherwise.s review which. “* think therefore * am.ost of the time of course. *nstead. the group that elieves that if rain and ehavior could e completely explained that would also amount to a complete explanation of consciousness.uently effective and have stayed with us through evolution precisely ecause they so often are. .uestion of what can e known accurately and how. which as )earle takes pains to point out was also held y 2ennett. 0hat 2ennett elieves and )earle disagrees on seems actually to consist of two different things. 2ennett holds to the ehaviorist/methodology. almost all of us including committed ehaviorists “intuitively” (as 2ennett would pro a ly say) use a mixture of approaches. what this methodological restriction says is that when we study consciousness we never actually do so directly. This puts him very s. excludes from “good science” is any first person report y the experimenter of anything supposedly learned directly from his or her introspective experience. $ecent neural research on oth humans and animals has shown that this process appears to occur at a very asic and often unconscious level in so called “mirror neurons” that fire as if we were performing an act when we see someone else.
(!roving that there did exist in the universe something esides himself was the next step in his example. 0hat )earle elieves a out consciousness seems to e easier to understand.uestiona ly true. 2ennett agrees with that.s views on the matter *. The first point of their disagreement was3is epistemic. these letter might e read for fun simply as examples of how right intellectuals can sometimes go at each other in pu lic like small oys in a schoolyard and apparently oth en&oy it. These are two men. This leads us nicely to the second of the two points a out consciousness on which 2ennett and )earle disagree so violently. *n fact it was simply the start of in example in chapter four of his 2iscourse on .ethod of how his “method for reaching relia le conclusions” (which was the heart of his philosophy) could e applied to the pro lem of metaphysics. not at all the nature of that something. * do however . oth considered to e currently eminent philosophers in the area of philosophy of mind. really seem to genuinely despise each other. The second point of contention etween them is ontological. * lean toward the modern methodological doctrine of falsa ility. un. he simply holds that such “intuitions” (he uses that word) however hard to shake are in fact wrong. alone in the universe who was having a dream. 'n example was the elief that he had a ody and that there was an outside world rather than. i.t trust me too much. eing a spirit. that something which can not even potentially e proven to e false can pro a ly not e shown to e true in the usual sense either ut is perhaps an artifact of our language or some such. They do at least agree that these are the two points in contention and use the same words for themJ The reality of consciousness and what that means is a slippery issue now &ust as it has een for centuries for people trying to understand 2escartes. 0hat does 2ennett elieve then a out consciousnessC 4or one thing he elieves what he calls his “multiple drafts” theory a out it. go and read his ooks. 0hen it comes to 2ennett.m inclined to say don. for instance.e. 4ortunately. 4orgetting the relevance to the topic of consciousness. prefera ly several of them.Enfortunately (and to me frustratingly) this is misremem ered as eing the heart of his philosophy.” which is something he explicitly accuses 2ennett of at one point in this pu lished review. *f * understand this (and * am not at all sure that * do) it takes the known fact of neurologically distri uted consciousness processing in the 19 . he was concluding only that something existed. perhaps somewhat ecause they oth are considered so eminent. is consciousness “real” and if so what does it mean to say that it is real. *n discovering this. he elieves it to e something unary and fundamental.uite agree with )earle that those facts seem intuitively. as something that could not e dou ted (the first step in his “method” he was specifically contrasting its certainty with all other seemingly true ut potentially fallacious eliefs. not to e dou ted y anyone except as an example of “intellectual pathology. in this little ook we also have the exchange of letters etween the two men to go y. !erhaps surprisingly. * always get a it edgy when * come across someone emphatically asserting that something can not possi ly e dou ted y any sane person. how to gain accurate ( e a modern and say “scientific”) knowledge a out consciousness and how to make sure that it is accurate.) *n other words.
however they might appear would only e “simulating” intelligence or consciousness. 2ennett argues that any such eing. * have never come across a passage in any of 2ennett. it seems to have more similarity to the known separate minds within split rain patients. is supposed to prove. *t is logically possi le to split the difference of this. exhi iting such ehavior would inevita ly be conscious.s “+hinese room” thought experiment. yet they would in fact e totally unconscious and reactive or ro otic. The final point a out 2ennett. discussed earlier. 7owever. hence the name. however paradoxical that may seem. <om ies and alleged acceptance of the possi ility of “strong '*. * suspect that )earle is right and that 2ennett would or does accept it in oth cases. it does seem to rule out their eing like different personalities in a person with multiple personality disorder since in those cases some of the personalities are persistent and very much aware of each other even though only one may e in control at a time.” claims that such systems.and con&ectures that it applies to su &ective states as well.s ideas that arouses )earle. elieves that neither consciousness nor genuine intelligence can ever e manifested.ind) 1@ . <om ie is a common creature in consciousness researcher thought experiments. 0hat is certain is that )earle claims to e sure that 2ennett accepts the strong '* possi ility as it relates to consciousness.s works that * have read or scanned which seemed to explicitly either accept or re&ect strong '* as the hypothesis relates to either intelligence or consciousness.s wrath is his re&ection of the possi ility of “philosophers. )ome who have considered them accept the idea that they could in theory exist. 2avid Chalmers! $the hard problem% and panpsychism (The +onscious . ecause he claims to elieve that 2ennett has a severe case of “intellectual pathology” as mentioned a ove. “0eak '*. the ver al on the dominant side and the silent ut visually and manipulatively acute one on the other. )earle however. 7owever. to claim for example that computer systems could e genuinely “intelligent” (strong '*) ut never do more than “simulate” consciousness (weak '*). others have argued that without consciousness such ehavior would simply e impossi le. 4. 7ow it is that we have the illusion of a single stream of consciousness with no perception of these concurrent drafts either as they are going on or after one is selected and others discarded (if indeed that is what he thinks happens) * do not understand.” )trong '* claims that it is possi le to uild computer hardware3software systems that are truly intelligent or conscious. )upposedly he or she would e like us in all ways including showing emotions and talking a out consciousness. which seems at the least to fly in the face of what )earle.” The philosophers. )earle also claims that 2ennett is a eliever in “strong '*. at least y the sort of computer systems we now know. This is not the sort of conscious3unconscious distinction of 4reud as * understand it. 7e seems to take this as a final proof in his argument that 2ennett does not really elieve in consciousness at all. 2ennett himself descri es the separate conscious states he is talking a out as eing like successive drafts of an article. though * know of no one who has ever suggested that they exist in practice. 7is reasons for those eliefs * have also tried to explicate in my earlier discussion of )earle and his +hinese room.
saved somewhat y the inclusion of a response y +halmers to the review at its end. printed in this ook. <om ies who ehave like us ut without any speck of consciousness +halmers concedes that we can imagine them ut asks whether they are possi le in this physical universe and if not would they e possi le in some other universe with different physical laws.5iven that )earle so dislikes 2aniel 2ennett. a stracts analogous properties from different situations and tries to explain those similarities as alternate ways of achieving analogous functional results. and * wonder why. This chapter on +halmers is. rather than eing consciousless philosophers <om ies of the sort &ust previously discussed. +uriously.echanical clocks with their pendulums did not cause electric clocks that plug into '+ outlets. . *n this chapter )earle manages to drastically misstate not only +halmers views ut also some rather asic facts a out oth ehaviorism and functionalism as twentieth century intellectual movements. a leader of the “' team ro o/geeks. explaining why oth need of some actuator with a very steady eat. 1D . for example.” ut not so. a point &ust ela orated on with regard to 2aniel 2ennett. +onversations on +onsciousness. the worst in this entire ook. rightly or wrongly. rather oth needed parts of some kind to accomplish an analogous function.uantum physics as far ack as the 1=98. %ertrand $ussell proposed such a “dual aspect” theory in explicit analogy to the wave3particle dualism thus then eing elucidated in .” and as a way of trying to simultaneously hold on to oth materialism and consciousness has een around for some time. 4or an excellent summary of +halmers views see the transcript of his dialog with )usan %lackmore in a ook we discussed in this group a few months ago. *n his response to )earle. was the legitimacy of su &ective experience as such as valid raw data for scientific investigations. +halmers is most noted for having coined the phrase “the hard pro lem” to contrast the difficulty of explaining why we have consciousness at all.” $elating conscious perceptions and intentions to external stimuli and ehaviors are the (relatively) “easy pro lems” y his and most others. * think. and a very thoroughgoing one he is.” one might expect him to like 2avid +halmers. standards. +halmers descri es himself as eing an “agnostic” a out most aspects of the mind/ ody pro lem. )pecifically and to start with. )earle mentions electric and mechanical clocks in passing and showing how similar su /functions in such physically different devices are achieved and why. though * have come across that charge many times. whether it e a pendulum or an alternating current from a wall socket. which is still around. To return to the philosophers. 4unctionalism demonstrates correlations not causation etween examined systems. 4unctionalism. with the “easy pro lems. The elief that some assem lages of matter can exhi it “mental” properties as well as physical ones is what is now called “property dualism. a leader if the “% team ad scientists. 0hat ehaviorists did consistently deny. * have never come across anything y or a out any ehaviorist denying the existence of consciousness.s. )earle never even mentions “the hard pro lem” when discussing +halmers ook.
(ust what defines informational complexity and why consciousness would ecome entangled with it does not seem clear. and )earle is . a num er of '* researchers have felt that providing real or simulated ro ot odies to their computer programs was essential if those programs were to e a le to learn3evolve in any deep sense. This is where the panpsychism comes inA if everything including empty space might have a conscious aspect of some sort wouldn. 7u ert 2reyfus in his 0hat +omputers ()till) +an.. 7owever. Mikewise. *n sum. +halmers does not affirm so/called “su stance dualism” (minds and rains connected ut composed of different su stances) or mentalism (the idea that everything is really mind with matter eing merely an illusion). $osenfield sees a coherent self as eing a product of dynamic memory uilt around changes and sta ilities in ones ongoing. ut when entangled with “informationaly complex” entities such as ourselves or even lower animals it might manifest as the sort of consciousness that we would recogni<e as such. in his demand for good reasons to exclude such possi ilities he examines them more closely than anyone else * know of doing consciousness studies today from a secular perspective. usually with difficulty. seemingly continuous sense of self. )peculating still further. the 4amiliar and 4orgotten) $osenfield. 7owever. +halmers does not present this as a con&ecture. very simple he concluded. he asked whether consciousness might e a fundamental property of this universe like space and time and coextensive with them. 6srael Rosenfield! the Self . centered much of his argument on the assertion of "a<i philosopher .t 2o ooks. )ome have considered it an achievement to prove to their own satisfaction that there is no such thing as the self. *n the ook reviewed y )earle as well as in other places he has tried to imagine &ust what the phenomenological life of a thermostat might e like.uires the existence of a ody. clinical case histories of the results of various forms of neural damage. a sort of virtual. 5. Body 6ma(e (The )trange. merely as a logical possi ility that seems hard to exclude simply on the asis of logic and challenges us to discover &ust how it might e re&ected. 2aniel 2ennett has suggested that while the self seems real it is in fact an illusion. previously mentioned. uses different source materials from others reviewed y )earle. not consciousness as such ut the normal. 1> .artin 7eidigger that not only consciousness ut intelligence re.t that imply a universal consciousness and why would we not e aware of itC )uch a consciousness for most of the universe would e very uninteresting he felt. !sychologist 0illiam (ames was writing a out it more than a century ago and with the return of interest in consciousness studies within the last couple of decades a num er of researchers have grappled with it.*n investigating &ust how far down such dualism might e a le to extend. and uses them to address a somewhat different topic. eyond the level of lower animals +halmers asked whether inanimate o &ects might also have a conscious aspect of some sort. This claim of ody image as central to sense of self and even more is not new. This is a topic with a long history in consciousness studies. often relying on common experiences reported in meditative states as evidence. physical ody image. a clinical neurologist.uite right a out that.uential machine that runs atop the multiprocessing rain. se.
uestion * want to ring up that )earle seems to have missed. The negative evidence.uite incorrect interpretations of ehaviors initiated y the other side. which is what one thinks of when thinking of cases of amnesia appears to e only one of several types which seem to e associated in differing ways with differing rain regions. Conclusion7addendum! findin(s from modern psycholo(ists/ consciousness studies 0hile )earle. often unconscious. other half. 0ho if anyone in this person. ut a relevant .s rain aware of what was going on in that areaC $emem er the results of the tests that can e performed on persons whose interhemispheric connections have een cut. which does play such an important part in $osenfield.uestions a out things which are going on in that “ lind” area such as “how many fingers am * holding upC” The lindsighted person will insist that he or she can not see what is going on in that area. and psycho/linguist 5eorge Makoff has tried in a rather large ook to demonstrate that even seemingly very a stract ranches of mathematics rely on. The neural areas and pathways whose damage produces the lindsight phenomenon are now pretty well understood. $emem er finally that in the case of the split rain patients the speaking side usually has and elieves reasona le sounding ut factually .2evelopmental studies of infants oth efore and after irth have usually reached similar conclusions. 4ew seem to consider in the case of the prover ial amnesiac of 7ollywood films how it is that the person who has forgotten even his or her name is nonetheless a le to use their native language and tie their shoes without difficulty. ut does that mean that there was no consciousness in the lindsighted person. The “episodic” memory. ody image metaphors for more than is customarily reali<ed. -thers commonly recogni<ed today are the semantic. it seems to dovetail nicely with the matter that )earle rings up in his conclusion as an important topic for future conscious research.s rain is conscious of what is going on in that reportedly lind areaC "ot the self doing the ver al reporting o viously. the phenomenon of lindsight. that seems nonetheless to remind one of those split rain experiments.agic and the %rain” in the current (2ecem er 988:) issue of )cientific 'merican. 4urthermore.uestions raised y oth 2aniel 2ennett and 2avid +halmers a out &ust how many consciousnesses may e simultaneously active in even a normal rain. ut when asked to “guess” will usually “guess” correctly and e very much surprises at how often those guesses turn out to e correct.s reviews unfortunately do not contain any examples of conscious research carried out y psychologists. if any.s examples. we are fortunate that there is an excellent example of such research in an article entitled “. $emem er too the . *n the experiment descri ed in 1F . -nly one side is a le to speak ut oth sides seem to e a le to think and to feel emotions. This is a neurological condition in which an individual can not consciously see out of all or part of his or her visual field yet can relia ly answer . *n the )cientific 'merican article an experiment on perfectly normal people. the procedural and the emotional as well as the working memory. regarding the importance of ody image and coherent sense of self to intelligence and consciousness seems to come from recent studies of memory.
when asked a out the incident &ust afterward more than half the su &ects had not noticed or could not remem er that the switch of clip oard wielding interviewers had occurredJ 0hat * take from all these examples as well as the lindsight and split rain results is that 2ennett is right. -ut of sight. $epeatedly. &ust descri ed. introspective reports of why they had &ust made the selection that they did. 'lso. !art way through. stopping riefly in the middle to pound its chest. even though they had. -f those who did not catch on to the switching almost all were a le to give detailed. even though they had een out of sight only momentarily. &ust made exactly the opposite selection. * have seen some extraordinary examples of this in ooks on the su &ect where two photographs were displayed side y side. 6xampleA a person in a gorilla suit wanders across a scene of a group playing asket all. * was una le to spot what. using slight of hand. The photographs were then covered momentarily and switched y the experimenter. once the oard had passed. two men. *nattentional lindnessA a person does not perceive items that are plainly in view. were indeed o vious changes from one to the other even though the only “interruption” was the movement of my eyes from one side of the page to the other.t what you think it is. in fact. that the difference etween consciousness and unconsciousness is not nearly so clear cut as )earle assumes. +hange lindnessA a viewer misses changes made to a scene during a rief interruption. that consciousness isn. though perhaps not in the sense he meant it. differently dressed swung down and. +hoice lindnessA the experiment with the photographs. is an example of this one. carrying a large oard passed etween the supposed interviewer and the person eing interviewed. continued the interview as if nothing had happened. and finally illusory correlationA a stage magician waves a wand and a ra it appears. after the fact. also part of the experiment. the initial interviewer swung up to hang ehind the oard and a different interviewer. 4our other types of “cognitive illusions are also descri ed. -ne * find even more dramatic was an experiment in which an experimenter with a clip oard pretended to e taking a survey. *ncredi ly.the current article each su &ect was shown a pair of photographs and asked which one he or she found more attractive. 1B . 6ach su &ect was then asked to explain why he or she found the person in the selected photograph (really the person in the photograph not selected) to e more attractive. this is a real experiment that has een done repeatedly with variations. ut goes completely unnoticed. #es. -nly a out one forth of the su &ects reali<ed that the photographs had een switched.
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