Consciousness, Perspective, Community
This paper seeks to clarify some aspects of the nature of consciousness by drawing some contrasts between objects and conscious beings. It is argued that consciousness requires an account of self-conscious perspective that is itself reliant upon the communicative potentials of a community. Consciousness in this respect is best thought of as a general space of reasons in which specific evaluation of reasons takes place. To begin with, given the prevalence of computational notions and descriptions used as a parallel with consciousness, the objects in question will be computers. Having drawn out some distinctions between computation and consciousness, the argument will proceed to generalise these differences as between objects and conscious beings. This will suggest an awkwardness in distinguishing objects from conscious beings. The awkwardness is in the apparent inability to account for consciousness without resort to ‘mysterianism’ – that consciousness is a mysterious ‘otherness’ possessed by special kinds of things, such as persons. Deploying some explanatory arguments from Putnam, Brandom, Davidson and other resources from the philosophy of language, the awkwardness will be addressed and conclusions drawn about differences between objects and conscious beings. These will be based in how we understand systems, representation and community. In short, consciousness will require an account of self-conscious perspective that itself relies upon an account of community. These concepts will be shown as inter-reliant, or interpenetrating notions.
This is research into fundamental concepts that underwrite positions on machine consciousness, artificial intelligence, and accounts of mental representation. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's version of record can be found by following the URI link above.
Citation : Rainey, S. (2014) Consciousness, Perspective, Community. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21 (5-6). pp. 57-74
ISSN : ISSN 1355-8250
Research Group : Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility
Peer Reviewed : Yes