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Perception, Action, and ConsciousnessSensorimotor Dynamics and Two Visual Systems$
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Nivedita Gangopadhyay, Michael Madary, and Finn Spicer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551118.001.0001

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Computational consciousness

Computational consciousness

(p.21) Chapter 2 Computational consciousness
Perception, Action, and Consciousness

Dana H. Ballard

Oxford University Press

Much previous work has concentrated on finding a mechanistic explanation of how it feels to be conscious and, specifically, in trying to trace that feeling to the neural substrate. This chapter argues that the question of why consciousness exists may have a ready answer when compared to its useful partner, the unconscious. Unconscious programs represent repeated and reliable interactions between the agent and the world that can be coded invariantly for each case. Consciousness is used to direct the search for new programs, and in that search it becomes essential to distinguish the agent from the surround. It is further argued that since the neural hardware must be shared between the two states, consciousness must be handled at a higher level of abstraction that incorporates a bookkeeping strategy termed as tagging.

Keywords:   consciousness, computer science, brain, computational role, neural substrates, abstraction

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