The partial brain thought experiment: Partial consciousness and its implications

Abstract

The ‘Fading Qualia’ thought experiment of Chalmers purports to show that computationalism is very probably true even if dualism is true by considering a series of brains, with biological parts increasingly substituted for by artificial but functionally analagous parts in small steps, and arguing that consciousness would not plausibly vanish in either a gradual or sudden way. This defense of computationalism inspired an attack on computationalism by Bishop, who argued that a similar series of substitutions by parts that have the correct physical activity but not the correct causal relationships must likewise preserve consciousness, purportedly showing that ‘Counterfactuals Cannot Count’ and if so ruining a necessary condition for computation to meaningfully distinguish between physical systems. In this paper, the case in which a series of parts are simply removed and substituted for only by imposing the correct boundary conditions to exactly preserve the functioning of the remaining partial brain is described. It is argued that consciousness must gradually vanish in this case, not by fading but by becoming more and more partial. This supports the non-centralized nature of consciousness, tends to support the plausibility of physicalism against dualism, and provides the proper counterargument to Bishop’s contention. It also provides an avenue of attack against the “Fading Qualia” argument for those who remain dualists.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,491

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

A note on the possibility of silicon brains and fading qualia.Jeffrey Hershfield - 2002 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (7):25-31.
A quantum physical argument for panpsychism.Shan Gao - 2013 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (1-2):59-70.
Caterpillars and consciousness.Arthur S. Reber - 1997 - Philosophical Psychology 10 (4):437-49.
The Possibility of Empirical Test of Hypotheses About Consciousness.Jean E. Burns - 1996 - In S. R. Hameroff, A. W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Towards a Science of Consciousness. MIT Press. pp. 739--742.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
125 (#131,607)

6 months
2 (#644,763)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jacques Mallah
New York University (PhD)

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references