Thursday, January 10, 2008

From a letter to Ned Block
Is there anyone arguing that consciousness is defined not by reason or emotion but "indecision"?
Computers aren't indecisive. It seems to me that one can defend physicalism by treating the mind as hardware with two conflicting Operating Systems: observation and computation and conditioned response. Both are mechanical processes but each come to different conclusions. Consciousness is the perhaps epiphenomenal but necessary illusion of unity and stability in an animal/sensorial system in a constant state of crisis. Any life form capable of being caught between conditioned response and "rational" or calculated action is conscious. Neither amoebae nor computers are conscious.

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