Blog: Hi Nick,
I appreciate your concerns with the state of Philosophy of Mind. I have found it very difficult to find thoughts on the importance of the composition and arrangement of matter that allows for conscious experience. It seems to me, and as you mentioned the simulation of consciousness is likely not equivalent to the real thing.
It seems many who are focused on artificial intelligence, do not concern themselves with the physical structure of minds, and what physical matter is being manipulated. This I would think is important to the genesis of consciousness, not merely the computation.
Assuming a classical computer could simulate consciousness and present a compelling sense of it to anyone who is testing the machine. Nothing in the physical processes of the computation would necessarily be physically structured in a way that would allow for generation of conscious experience. If computation was all it took to generate consciousness then in theory a classical computer could be constructed from steam/water components to carry out the same procedures, it would take a very long time, but the end result should be the same. This may be John Searls argument, I’ve not read enough of what he has written aside from the Chinese room. And perhaps the argument rests on the assumption that the logic components in the machine aren’t conscious.
I think Georg Northoff may discuss this to some degree but I haven’t got through his book yet.