Minds and Machines

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 185–200

Quantity of experience: brain-duplication and degrees of consciousness

Article

Abstract

If a brain is duplicated so that there are two brains in identical states, are there then two numerically distinct phenomenal experiences or only one? There are two, I argue, and given computationalism, this has implications for what it is to implement a computation. I then consider what happens when a computation is implemented in a system that either uses unreliable components or possesses varying degrees of parallelism. I show that in some of these cases there can be, in a deep and intriguing sense, a fractional (non-integer) number of qualitatively identical phenomenal experiences. This, in turn, has implications for what lessons one should draw from neural replacement scenarios such as Chalmers’ “Fading Qualia” thought experiment.

Keywords

Computation Mind Consciousness Implementation Duplication Fading qualia Chalmers Searle Program Probabilistic Deterministic 

References

  1. Barnes, E. (1991). The causal history of computational activity: Maudlin and Olympia. Journal of Philosophy, 88(6), 304–316MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bostrom, N. (2002a). Anthropic bias: Observation selection effects in science and philosophy. New York: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Bostrom, N. (2002b). Self-locating belief in big worlds: Cosmology’s missing link to observation. Journal of Philosophy, 99(12), 607–623Google Scholar
  4. Bostrom, N. (2003). Are you living in a computer simulation? Philosophical Quarterly, 53(211), 243–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chalmers, D. (1995). Absent qualia, fading qualia, dancing qualia. In: Metzinger, T. (Ed.), Conscious experience. Paderborn: Exetes Schoningh (in association with) Imprint AcademicGoogle Scholar
  6. Chalmers, D. (1996). Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton? Synthese, 108, 309–333MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cuda, T. (1985). Against neural chauvinism. Philosophical Studies, 48, 111–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hawking, S. W., & Israel W. (Eds.) (1979). General relativity: An Einstein centenary survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. Klein, C. (2004). Maudlin on computation. Working paper Google Scholar
  10. Martin, J. L. (1995). General relativity. London: Prentice HallMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. Maudlin, T. (1989). Computation and consciousness. Journal of Philosophy, 86(8), 407–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar
  13. Pylyshyn, Z. (1980). The ‘causal power’ of machines. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 417–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Savitt, S. (1980). Searle’s demon and the brain simulator reply. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, 342–343Google Scholar
  15. Searle, J. R. (1992). The rediscovery of the mind. Cambridge, Mass: MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Williamson, T. (1994). Vagueness. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Wilson, R. A. (1994). Wide computationalism. Mind, 103(411), 351–372Google Scholar
  18. Zuboff, A. (1978). Moment universals and personal identity. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 52, 141–155Google Scholar
  19. Zuboff, A. (1991). One self: The logic of experience. Inquiry, 33, 39–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations