D.J. CHALMERS' NON-REDUCTIONIST FUNCTIONALISM IN DEFENSE OF THE REALITY OF SENSOUS EXPERIENCE
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The author addresses the issue of the non-reductive functionalist stance devised by David Chalmers and advocated by him in his 1995 paper entitled 'Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia'. He attends to the argument provided in support of the thesis. The argument takes on the guise of neuron-to-silicon-chip switch thought experiment that involves two alternative-end scenarios of phenomenal consciousness, i.e. qualia, either gradually fading away as silicon chips prevail over neurons in the brain or disappearing abruptly with the removal of a single consecutive neuron and its replacement with a silicon chip. He complies with the main thrust of Chalmers' account on the origin of phenomenal consciousness to the effect that it is the functional structure of the material bearer of mental faculties rather than the type of material that warrants the emergence of consciousness. Yet he finds fault with certain features of Chalmers' reasoning. The author's main criticism refers to the pivotal notion of functional structure that remains an abstract and requires substantiation. The attempt to trace the fact of having sensations and being aware of them back to an entity that is only hinted at and nowhere to be found within the neurophysiological, cognitive or biological domain falls short of a sound explanation. Thus he develops Chalmers' line of argument further to specify an adequate and exhaustive characteristic of the said functional structure. He suggests that, apart from the usual aspects attributive of ordinary functional structure which is considered in terms of input, output and the algorithmic operations in-between, 'graininess' should also be discerned. A functional structure eligible for inducing conscious sensations should be sufficiently subtle or, in other words, complex.
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