Dennett, consciousness, and the sorrows of functionalism

Consciousness and Cognition 2 (1):1-17 (1993)
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Little is gained, and much lost, by casting an empirical theory of consciousness in a "functionalist" philosophical mold. Consciousness Explained is an instructive failure. It resurrects various behaviorist dogmas; it denies consciousness any distinct cognitive ontology; it obliquely adopts many long-standing research positions relating parallel and sequential processing to consciousness, yet denies the core assumption which produced this research; it takes parallel processing to be incompatible with educated common-sense views of consciousness , while in fact parallel processing is compatible with some Cartesian Theater views. Contrary to Dennett, the Cartesian Theater does not necessarily imply that contents must fully "arrive" in consciousness at a single, specifiable instant; criticism of the Cartesian Theater based on this attribution is thus without force. And if consciousness is a distinct information-bearing medium, functionalist attempts to "explain" consciousness are inherently inadequate



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Sensation's ghost: The nonsensory fringe of consciousness.Bruce Mangan - 2001 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 7.
A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience.Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):127-148.
Author's response.Ned Block - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1).

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