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Type: Journal article
Title: Cognitive science and phenomenal consciousness: A dilemma, and how to avoid it
Author: O'Brien, G.
Opie, J.
Citation: Philosophical Psychology, 1997; 10(3):269-286
Publisher: Routledge
Issue Date: 1997
ISSN: 0951-5089
Statement of
Gerard O'Brien & Jon Opie
Abstract: When it comes to applying computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, cognitive scientists appear to face a dilemma. The only strategy that seems to be available is one that explains consciousness in terms of special kinds of computational processes. But such theories, while they dominate the field, have counter‐intuitive consequences; in particular, they force one to accept that phenomenal experience is composed of information processing effects. For cognitive scientists, therefore, it seems to come down to a choice between a counter‐intuitive theory or no theory at all. We offer a way out of this dilemma. We argue that the computational theory of mind does not force cognitive scientists to explain consciousness in terms of computational processes, as there is an alternative strategy available: one that focuses on the representational vehicles that encode information in the brain. This alternative approach to consciousness allows us to do justice to the standard intuitions about phenomenal experience, yet remain within the confines of cognitive science.
Rights: © 1997 Carfax Publishing Ltd.
RMID: 0030003256
DOI: 10.1080/09515089708573220
Appears in Collections:Philosophy publications

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