Place, U. T. (1999d). Connectionism and the problem of consciousness. Acta Analytica, 14(22), 197-226.
[Abstract]This paper falls into three parts. In Part 1 I give my reasons for rejecting two aspects of Horgan and Tienson's position as laid out in their book, the language of thought and belief-desire explanations of behaviour, while endorsing the connection they see between linguistic syntax and the syntax of a motor skill. In Part 2 I outline the theory that the brain consists of two input-output transformation systems consciousness whose function is (a) to categorise problematic inputs, (b) to select a response appropriate to such inputs once they have been categorised and (c) to initiate and monitor the execution of such response once selected, and the "zombie-within" whose function is (a) to identify and alert consciousness to any inputs that are problematic either because they are unexpected or because they are significant relative to the agent's current or perennial motivational concerns. In Part 3 I consider how far the properties of the two systems outlined in Part 2 can be understood in terms of the known properties of connectionist networks.
Keywords: connectionism, consciousness, problematic input, zombie-within
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[References] [Related] [Talks] [1 citing publications] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1999d Connectionism and the Problem of Consciousness.pdf
Place, U. T. (2000a). Consciousness and the zombie-within: a functional analysis of the blindsight evidence. In Y. Rossetti, & A. Revonsuo (Eds.), Beyond dissociations: Interaction between dissociated implicit and explicit processing (pp. 295-329). John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/aicr.22.15pla
[Abstract]Cowey & Stoerig's (1995) demonstration that the phenomenon of blindsight applies to monkeys with striate cortical lesions in the same way as it does to humans with similar lesions makes it plausible to argue that the behaviour of mammals and probably that of other vertebrates is controlled by two distinct but closely interdependent and interacting systems in the brain which I shall refer to respectively as 'consciousness' and the 'sub-conscious automatic pilot or "zombie" within'. On this hypothesis, consciousness has three functions, (a) that of categorizing any input that is problematic in that it is either unexpected or significant relative to the individual's current or perennial motivational concerns, (b) that of selecting a response appropriate both to the presence of a thing of that kind and to the individual's motivational concerns with respect to it, and (c) that of monitoring the execution of that response. Conscious/phenomenal experience, on this view, is the first stage in the process whereby problematic inputs are processed by consciousness. Its function is to modify the figure-ground relations within the central representation of a problematic input until an adequate categorization is selected. The sub-conscious automatic pilot or “zombie-within” has two functions (a) that of continuously scanning the total current input and alerting consciousness to any input it identifies as problematic, (b) that of protecting consciousness from overload either by ignoring those non-problematic inputs which require no response or by responding appropriately but automatically to those for which there already exists a well practised skill or other “instinctive” response pattern.
[References] [Talks] [5 citing publications] [5 referring publications by Place] [1 reprinting collections]
Download: 2000a Consciousness and the Zombie-within a Functional Analysis of the Blindsight Evidence.pdf