From Philosophy

Gradational Functionalism and Qualia

The homunculi-headed robot, a thought experiment in philosophy of mind, constitutes a system that is in fact a mind capable of experiencing qualitative states, or “qualia”. (1) I will discuss the arguments put forward by Ned Block (1978), viz. the Absent Qualia Argument in regards to functionalism. (2) Playing the role of the functionalist, I will argue that the causal roles the homunculi occupy in a system and those occupied by the firing of neurons in a brain offer no substantial differentiation by which to accept Block’s prima facie counter-example argument. Providing another counter-example to Block’s counter-example, I argue that…