The meta-problem and the transfer of knowledge between theories of consciousness: a software engineer’s take


This contribution examines two radically different explanations of our phenomenal intuitions, one reductive and one strongly non-reductive, and identifies two germane ideas that could benefit many other theories of consciousness. Firstly, the ability of sophisticated agent architectures with a purely physical implementation to support certain functional forms of qualia or proto-qualia appears to entail the possibility of machine consciousness with qualia, not only for reductive theories but also for the nonreductive ones that regard consciousness as ubiquitous in Nature. Secondly, analysis of introspective psychological material seems to hint that, under the threshold of our ordinary waking awareness, there exist further ‘submerged’ or ‘subliminal’ layers of consciousness which constitute a hidden foundation and support and another source of our phenomenal intuitions. These ‘submerged’ layers might help explain certain puzzling phenomena concerning subliminal perception, such as the apparently ‘unconscious’ multisensory integration and learning of subliminal stimuli.

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Marcel Kvassay
Slovak Academy of Sciences


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