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Stephen Downes

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The Brains Blog

The Brains Blog, Oct 18, 2023

This is an interesting approach to the study of consciousness:  "'refutation by implementation.' If a model implements a theory of consciousness, that theory is wrong: 'the ability to encode the core principles of a theory of consciousness within a computational model provides evidence that the theory is incomplete.'" In other words, "Whatever consciousness turns out to be, you can't grant it to a machine by writing a program alone in your room on a Wednesday afternoon." This would seem to challenge my own views on consciousness, whereby I suggest that there is nothing over and above the process of perceptual experience; I imagine it would be pretty easy to implement 'nothing'. But the discussion here is interesting; "Bridewell & Isaac ultimately hold that computational functionalism could be correct: 'The apophatic scientist systematically chips away at the cognitive, intentional, and functional roles assigned to consciousness until all that remains is either an empty set or a circumscribed core that cannot be reduced to computational implementation.'" I'm betting on the empty set.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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