Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TRANS-HUMAN COGNITIVE ENHANCEMENT, PHENOMENAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE EXTENDED MIND

Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki (2012). Trans-Human Cognitive Enhancement, Phenomenal Consciousness and the Extended Mind. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (01):215-.
Drawing on Charles Stross's recent trans-humanist, science fiction novel, Accelerando, I argue that phenomenology can play an important supplementary role in arguments for the hypothesis of extended cognition — the view that the mind might sometimes extend beyond the skull. In their initial arguments for this hypothesis Clark and Chalmers [Clark, A. and Chalmers, D. [1998] "The extended mind," Analysis 58(1), 7–19], deliberately downplay the role of phenomenology, emphasizing third person, functionalist reasons for it. However, passages from Stross's novel suggest that feasible, extra-cranial cognitive technology will have dramatic effects on phenomenology. Such "trans-human" phenomenology will likely eliminate intuitive resistance to the hypothesis of extended cognition, thereby supporting functionalist arguments for it. Although this is not sufficient to establish that consciousness itself might extend beyond the skull, I also argue that any view on which consciousness supervenes on the functional properties of the nervous system, like Chalmers, D. [1996] The Conscious Mind (Oxford University Press, New York) and Baars, B. [1988] A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK); Baars, B. [1997]In the Theatre of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, New York); Baars, B. [2002] The conscious access hypothesis: Origins and recent evidence, Trends in Cognitive Science 6, 47–52; Baars, B. [2003] How brain reveals mind: Neuroimaging supports the central role of conscious experience, Journal of Consciousness Studies 10, 100–114, must accept this possibility.

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