Artificial consciousness, meta-knowledge, and physical omniscience

Chrisley, Ron (2020) Artificial consciousness, meta-knowledge, and physical omniscience. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness, 7 (2). pp. 199-215. ISSN 1793-8430

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Previous work [Chrisley & Sloman, 2016, 2017] has argued that a capacity for certain kinds of meta-knowledge is central to modeling consciousness, especially the recalcitrant aspects of qualia, in computational architectures. After a quick review of that work, this paper presents a novel objection to Frank Jackson’s Knowledge Argument (KA) against physicalism, an objection in which such meta-knowledge also plays a central role. It is first shown that the KA’s supposition of a person, Mary, who is physically omniscient, and yet who has not experienced seeing red, is logically inconsistent, due to the existence of epistemic blindspots for Mary. It is then shown that even if one makes the KA consistent by supposing a more limited physical omniscience for Mary, this revised argument is invalid. This demonstration is achieved via the construction of a physical fact (a recursive conditional epistemic blindspot) that Mary cannot know before she experiences seeing red for the first time, but which she can know afterward. After considering and refuting some counter-arguments, the paper closes with a discussion of the implications of this argument for machine consciousness, and vice versa.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Knowledge Argument, Mary, Meta-knowledge, Qualia, Physicalism, Omniscience, Epistemic Blindspot, Virtual Machine, Functionalism, Illusionism, Indexical, Revisionism, Machine Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Cognitive Science
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Depositing User: Ron Chrisley
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2021 11:48
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2021 11:00

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