Bayesing Qualia: consciousness as inference, not raw datum

Clark, Andy, Friston, Karl and Wilkinson, Sam (2019) Bayesing Qualia: consciousness as inference, not raw datum. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 26 (9-10). pp. 19-33. ISSN 1355-8250

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The meta-problem of consciousness (Chalmers (this issue)) is the problem of explaining the behaviors and verbal reports that we associate with the so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’. These may include reports of puzzlement, of the attractiveness of dualism, of explanatory gaps, and the like. We present and defend a solution to the meta-problem. Our solution takes as its starting point the emerging picture of the brain as a hierarchical inference engine. We show why such a device, operating under familiar forms of adaptive pressure, may come to represent some of its mid-level inferences as especially certain. These mid-level states confidently re-code raw sensory stimulation in ways that (they are able to realize) fall short of fully determining how properties and states of affairs are arranged in the distal world. This drives a wedge between experience and the world. Advanced agents then represent these mid-level inferences as irreducibly special, becoming increasingly puzzled as a result.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Lucy Arnold
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2019 08:41
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2021 02:00

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Expecting Ourselves: Embodied Prediction and the Construction of Conscious Experience (XSPECT)UnsetEUROPEAN UNION XSPECT - DLV-692739692739