It is proposed that conscious qualia arise when and only when the 'running' of physical processes takes a special, complex form. Running in general is the unified unfolding of processes through time, and is claimed to be an additional quality of physical processes beyond their state trajectories. The type of running needed for conscious qualia is reflexive in physically affecting and responding to itself. Intuitively, running is essentially the flow of causation, and the self-affecting/responding is a matter of causation bearing a causal relationship to itself: that is, causation can itself be reflexive. The proposal potentially makes temporal qualia the most fundamental qualia, with others derivatively arising. The proposal is neutral about whether a conscious process occurs in a natural organism, in a physically implemented computational system, or in some other physical substrate, as long as the substrate involves the special reflexive runningness.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Consciousness Studies
|Published - 1 Jan 2014