[ExI] Where is Consciousness located?

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at comcast.net
Fri Dec 21 23:44:57 UTC 2007

Though I think the way most people, including Searle, use the idea of 
the Chinese room is mistaken, there is an important idea there having to 
do with the hard problem of consciousness.

This has to do with Chalmer's "principle of organizational invariance" 
which states that phenomenal properties can "arize" from any equivalent 
functional organization.  Sure, in actuality, things like a set of water 
pipes and valves, and / or a "Chineese room" could not actually result 
in any kind of intelligent behavior, but theoretically, all mathematical 
calculations required could be reproduced and simulated by all such 
systems if the speed of such operations were simply increased a near 
infinite amount.  This position is argued in this position statement here:


Chalmers, I, and many others agree that there is a "hard problem" but I 
disagree with him that phenomenal properties could "arise" from any 
equivalent functional organization, of which a "Chinese Room" is, though 
absurd and racist, one example.

I also very much disagree with the idea that consciousness is only a 
process or only behavior, or not located anywhere.  And this is all 
described in the "Nature has Phenomenal Properties" camp statement:


Brent Allsop

John K Clark wrote:
> <citta437 at aol.com> Wrote:
>> What is the goal of the experiment?
> You would have to ask Mr. Searle about that not me. I'm sure he was trying
> to prove something profound, but whatever it was he failed miserably.
> Even the best of us can come up with a bad idea but even now, years later,
> he still thinks the Chinese Room was clever; and that is exactly what makes
> me so certain that Mr. Searle isn't.
> I want to tell you about Clark's Chinese Room. You are a professor of
> Chinese Literature and are in a room with me and the great Chinese
> Philosopher and Poet Laotse. Laotse writes something in his native
> language on a paper and hands it to me. I walk 10 feet and give it to you.
> You read the paper and are impressed with the wisdom of the message
> and the beauty of its language. Now I tell you that I don't know a word of
> Chinese, can you find any deep implications from that fact?
> I believe Clark's Chinese Room is just as profound as Searle's Chinese
> Room. Not very.
>> Are you expecting that it will show
>> where consciousness is located in the brain?
> That would be ridiculous. In the same way it would be ridiculous to
> expect a mathematicians to tell me where eleven is or a race car driver
> tell me where swift is, or a artist tell me where beautiful is.
> Consciousness is not a brain; consciousness is what a brain does.
> I am an adjective, I am not a noun.
>> Emotions of fear, sadness and joy are concentrated in the lower part of
>> the brain, the amygdala, by showing an increased or diminished blood
>> flow in that area.
> Searle wasn't talking about the amygdale or blood or any other structure
> that through an evolutionary historical accident some life forms on this
> small planet happen to possess. Searle wasn't even talking about brains,
> he was trying to talk about general principles of mind. And it that he
> failed.
>  John K Clark
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