Computational Theories of Conscious Experience: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Erkenntnis 76 (2):195-209 (2012)
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Abstract
Very plausibly, nothing can be a genuine computing system unless it meets an input-sensitivity requirement. Otherwise all sorts of objects, such as rocks or pails of water, can count as performing computations, even such as might suffice for mentality—thus threatening computationalism about the mind with panpsychism. Maudlin in J Philos 86:407–432, ( 1989 ) and Bishop ( 2002a , b ) have argued, however, that such a requirement creates difficulties for computationalism about conscious experience, putting it in conflict with the very intuitive thesis that conscious experience supervenes on physical activity. Klein in Synthese 165:141–153, ( 2008 ) proposes a way for computationalists about experience to avoid panpsychism while still respecting the supervenience of experience on activity. I argue that his attempt to save computational theories of experience from Maudlin’s and Bishop’s critique fails
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