Dictionary of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Entry
Reference
Functionalism Chalmers I 15
Functionalism/Lewis/Armstrong/Chalmers: Lewis and Armstrong tried to explain all mental concepts, not only some. ChalmersVsLewis/ChalmersVsArmstrong: both authors made the same mistake like Descartes in assimilating the psychological to the phenomenal (see ChalmersVsDescartes).
E.g. When we wonder whether somebody is having a colour experience, we are not wondering whether they are receiving environmental stimulation and processing it in a certain way. It is a conceptually coherent possibility that something could be playing the causal role without there being an associated experience.
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I 15
Functionalism/Consciousness/ChalmersVsFunctionalism/ChalmersVsArmstrong/ChalmersVsLewis/Chalmers: There is no mystery about whether any state plays a causal role, at most there are a few technical explanatory problems. Why there is a phenomenological quality of consciousness involved is a completely different question. Functionalism/Chalmers: he denies that there are two different questions. ((s) Also: ChalmersVsDennett).
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I 231
Functionalism/Consciousness/Chalmers: two variants: Functionalism of the 2nd level: Among these, Rosenthal's approach of thoughts of the second level about conscious experiences and Lycan's (1995) (1) approach about perceptions of the second level. These theories give good explanations for introspection.
Functionalism of the 1st level : thesis: only cognitive states of the 1st level are used. Such theories are better in the explanation of conscious experiences.
Since, however, not all cognitive states correspond to conscious experiences, one still needs a distinguishing feature for them.
Solution/Chalmers: my criterion for this is the accessibility to global control.
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I 232
Kirk: (1994) (2): Thesis: "directly active" information is what is needed. Dretske: (1995) (3): Thesis: Experience is information that is represented for a system.
Tye: (1995) (4): Thesis: Information must be "balanced" for purposes of cognitive processing.
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I 250
Functionalism/VsFunctionalism/Chalmers: the authors who argue with inverted Qualia or lacking Qualia present the logical possibility of counter-arguments. This is sufficient in the case of a strong functionalism. The invariance principle (from which it follows that conscious experiences are possible in a system with identical biochemical organization) is a weaker functionalism. Here the merely logical possibility of counter examples is not sufficient to refute. Instead, we need a natural possibility of missing or inverted Qualia.
Solution: to consider natural possibility, we will accept fading or "dancing" Qualia.
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I 275
Functionalism/Chalmers: the arguments in relation to a lacking, inverted and dancing Qualia do not support a strong, but the non-reductive functionalism I represent. Thesis: functional organization is, with natural necessity, sufficient for conscious experiences. This is a strong conclusion that strengthens the chances for > artificial intelligence. See also Strong Artificial Intelligence/Chalmers.


1. W. G. Lycan, A limited defense of phenomenal information. In: T. Metzingwr (ed), Conscious Experience, Paderborn 1995.
2. R. Kirk, Raw Feeling: A Philosophical Account of the Essence of Consciousness. Oxford 1994.
3. F. Dretske, Naturalizing the Mind, Cambridge 1995
4. M. Tye, Ten Problems of Consciousness, Cambridge 1995.

Cha I
D. Chalmers
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014

Mind Chalmers I 11
Mind/Chalmers: conscious experience is not all there is to the mind. Cognitive sciences has had almost nothing to say about consciousness, but about mind in general as the internal basis of behaviour. Mind/Chalmers: a) phenomenal concept of mind: the conscious experience of mental states. That is what I will concentrate on.
b) The psychological concept as a causal or explanatory basis of behaviour.
ChalmersVsDescartes: Descartes may have been partly responsible for a conflation of the two concepts.
I 14
Mind/Psychology/Ryle/Chalmers: in philosophy, the shift in emphasis form the phenomenal to the psychological was codified by Gilbert Ryle (1949) (1) who argued that all our mental concepts can be analysed in terms of certain kinds of associated behaviour, or in terms of dispositions to behave in certain ways (E. g. Lycan 1987 (2)). ChalmersVsRyle: Ryle intended all mental concepts to fall within the grasp of his analysis. It seems to me that this view is a nonstarter as an analysis of our phenomenal concepts such as sensation and consciousness itself.
But Ryle’s analysis provided a suggestive approach to many other mental notions, such as believing, enjoying, wanting, pretending and remembering.
ChalmersVsRyle: technical problems: 1. It is natural to suppose that mental states cause behaviour, but if mental states are themselves behavioural then it is hard to see how they could do the job.
2. it was argued (Chisholm, 1957 (3), Geach, 1957 (4)) that no mental state could be defined by a single range of behavioural dispositions, independent of any other mental states. E.g. if one believes that it is raining, one’s behavioural dispositions will vary depending on whether one has the desire to get wet. It is therefore necessary to invoke other mental states in characterizing the behavioural dispositions. (GeachVsRyle, ChisholmVsRyle).



1. G. Ryle, The Concept of Mind, Oondon 1949
2. W. G. Lycan, Consciousness, Cambridge 1987
3. R. Chisholm, Perceiving Ithaca, NY, 1957
4. P. Geach, Mental Acts, London 1957

Cha I
D. Chalmers
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014