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Although some philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett , have disputed the validity of this distinction, [30] others have broadly accepted it.

David Chalmers has argued that A-consciousness can in principle be understood in mechanistic terms, but that understanding P-consciousness is much more challenging: he calls this the hard problem of consciousness. Some philosophers believe that Block's two types of consciousness are not the end of the story. There is also debate over whether or not A-consciousness and P-consciousness always coexist or if they can exist separately. Although P-consciousness without A-consciousness is more widely accepted, there have been some hypothetical examples of A without P.

Mental processes such as consciousness and physical processes such as brain events seem to be correlated, however the specific nature of the connection is unknown.

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The first influential philosopher to discuss this question specifically was Descartes , and the answer he gave is known as Cartesian dualism. Descartes proposed that consciousness resides within an immaterial domain he called res cogitans the realm of thought , in contrast to the domain of material things, which he called res extensa the realm of extension. Although it is widely accepted that Descartes explained the problem cogently, few later philosophers have been happy with his solution, and his ideas about the pineal gland have especially been ridiculed.

Proposed solutions can be divided broadly into two categories: dualist solutions that maintain Descartes' rigid distinction between the realm of consciousness and the realm of matter but give different answers for how the two realms relate to each other; and monist solutions that maintain that there is really only one realm of being, of which consciousness and matter are both aspects.

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Each of these categories itself contains numerous variants. The two main types of dualism are substance dualism which holds that the mind is formed of a distinct type of substance not governed by the laws of physics and property dualism which holds that the laws of physics are universally valid but cannot be used to explain the mind. The three main types of monism are physicalism which holds that the mind consists of matter organized in a particular way , idealism which holds that only thought or experience truly exists, and matter is merely an illusion , and neutral monism which holds that both mind and matter are aspects of a distinct essence that is itself identical to neither of them.

There are also, however, a large number of idiosyncratic theories that cannot cleanly be assigned to any of these schools of thought. Since the dawn of Newtonian science with its vision of simple mechanical principles governing the entire universe, some philosophers have been tempted by the idea that consciousness could be explained in purely physical terms. The first influential writer to propose such an idea explicitly was Julien Offray de La Mettrie , in his book Man a Machine L'homme machine. His arguments, however, were very abstract.

Theories proposed by neuroscientists such as Gerald Edelman [39] and Antonio Damasio , [40] and by philosophers such as Daniel Dennett , [41] seek to explain consciousness in terms of neural events occurring within the brain. Many other neuroscientists, such as Christof Koch , [42] have explored the neural basis of consciousness without attempting to frame all-encompassing global theories. At the same time, computer scientists working in the field of artificial intelligence have pursued the goal of creating digital computer programs that can simulate or embody consciousness.

A few theoretical physicists have argued that classical physics is intrinsically incapable of explaining the holistic aspects of consciousness, but that quantum theory may provide the missing ingredients. Several theorists have therefore proposed quantum mind QM theories of consciousness.

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Some of these QM theories offer descriptions of phenomenal consciousness, as well as QM interpretations of access consciousness. None of the quantum mechanical theories have been confirmed by experiment. Recent publications by G. Guerreshi, J. Cia, S. Popescu, and H.

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Briegel [45] could falsify proposals such as those of Hameroff, which rely on quantum entanglement in protein. At the present time many scientists and philosophers consider the arguments for an important role of quantum phenomena to be unconvincing. Apart from the general question of the "hard problem" of consciousness , roughly speaking, the question of how mental experience arises from a physical basis, [47] a more specialized question is how to square the subjective notion that we are in control of our decisions at least in some small measure with the customary view of causality that subsequent events are caused by prior events.

The topic of free will is the philosophical and scientific examination of this conundrum.


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Many philosophers consider experience to be the essence of consciousness, and believe that experience can only fully be known from the inside, subjectively. But if consciousness is subjective and not visible from the outside, why do the vast majority of people believe that other people are conscious, but rocks and trees are not?

The most commonly given answer is that we attribute consciousness to other people because we see that they resemble us in appearance and behavior; we reason that if they look like us and act like us, they must be like us in other ways, including having experiences of the sort that we do. For one thing, it seems to violate the principle of parsimony , by postulating an invisible entity that is not necessary to explain what we observe. A more straightforward way of saying this is that we attribute experiences to people because of what they can do , including the fact that they can tell us about their experiences.

The topic of animal consciousness is beset by a number of difficulties. It poses the problem of other minds in an especially severe form, because non-human animals, lacking the ability to express human language, cannot tell us about their experiences. Descartes, for example, has sometimes been blamed for mistreatment of animals due to the fact that he believed only humans have a non-physical mind. Philosophers who consider subjective experience the essence of consciousness also generally believe, as a correlate, that the existence and nature of animal consciousness can never rigorously be known.

He said that an organism is conscious "if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism—something it is like for the organism"; and he argued that no matter how much we know about an animal's brain and behavior, we can never really put ourselves into the mind of the animal and experience its world in the way it does itself. On July 7, , eminent scientists from different branches of neuroscience gathered at the University of Cambridge to celebrate the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, which deals with consciousness in humans and pre-linguistic consciousness in nonhuman animals.

After the conference, they signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking , the 'Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness', which summarizes the most important findings of the survey:. It's obvious to everyone in this room that animals have consciousness, but it is not obvious to the rest of the world. It is not obvious to the rest of the Western world or the Far East. It is not obvious to the society. The idea of an artifact made conscious is an ancient theme of mythology, appearing for example in the Greek myth of Pygmalion , who carved a statue that was magically brought to life, and in medieval Jewish stories of the Golem , a magically animated homunculus built of clay.

Lovelace was essentially dismissive of the idea that a machine such as the Analytical Engine could think in a humanlike way. She wrote:. It is desirable to guard against the possibility of exaggerated ideas that might arise as to the powers of the Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths.

Its province is to assist us in making available what we are already acquainted with. One of the most influential contributions to this question was an essay written in by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing , titled Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Turing disavowed any interest in terminology, saying that even "Can machines think?

In his essay Turing discussed a variety of possible objections, and presented a counterargument to each of them. The Turing test is commonly cited in discussions of artificial intelligence as a proposed criterion for machine consciousness; it has provoked a great deal of philosophical debate. For example, Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter argue that anything capable of passing the Turing test is necessarily conscious, [66] while David Chalmers argues that a philosophical zombie could pass the test, yet fail to be conscious.

In a lively exchange over what has come to be referred to as "the Chinese room argument", John Searle sought to refute the claim of proponents of what he calls "strong artificial intelligence AI " that a computer program can be conscious, though he does agree with advocates of "weak AI" that computer programs can be formatted to "simulate" conscious states.

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His own view is that consciousness has subjective, first-person causal powers by being essentially intentional due simply to the way human brains function biologically; conscious persons can perform computations, but consciousness is not inherently computational the way computer programs are. To make a Turing machine that speaks Chinese, Searle imagines a room with one monolingual English speaker Searle himself, in fact , a book that designates a combination of Chinese symbols to be output paired with Chinese symbol input, and boxes filled with Chinese symbols.

In this case, the English speaker is acting as a computer and the rulebook as a program. Searle argues that with such a machine, he would be able to process the inputs to outputs perfectly without having any understanding of Chinese, nor having any idea what the questions and answers could possibly mean. If the experiment were done in English, since Searle knows English, he would be able to take questions and give answers without any algorithms for English questions, and he would be effectively aware of what was being said and the purposes it might serve.

Searle would pass the Turing test of answering the questions in both languages, but he is only conscious of what he is doing when he speaks English. Another way of putting the argument is to say that computer programs can pass the Turing test for processing the syntax of a language, but that the syntax cannot lead to semantic meaning in the way strong AI advocates hoped. In the literature concerning artificial intelligence, Searle's essay has been second only to Turing's in the volume of debate it has generated. But other thinkers sympathetic to his basic argument have suggested that the necessary though perhaps still not sufficient extra conditions may include the ability to pass not just the verbal version of the Turing test, but the robotic version, [72] which requires grounding the robot's words in the robot's sensorimotor capacity to categorize and interact with the things in the world that its words are about, Turing-indistinguishably from a real person.