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According to The Basic Theory of the Mind, the mind is not a different entity from the brain, but an emergent property of the brain. Based on this assertion, can it be concluded that computers and any other information processors have or can have consciousness and mind?

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  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't seem like this "basic theory of the mind" is anything more than Chirapat Ukachoke's book, who is not someone I am familiar with publishing in (academic) consciousness research. Not that it makes it invalid, there are just way more involved researchers who have published theories in this area, both from perspectives of philosophy and psychology/neuroscience, and I don't see much evidence that this book is influential at all. It's very unlikely that anyone here is aware of or has read this book. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 12 '19 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'd also add that the idea that the mind is an emergent property of the brain is not at all unique to this theory. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 12 '19 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Bryan, thank you for your comment. So, if the question is rephrased to involve monism rather than the basic theory of mind, then can computationalism be implied? Arnon has mentioned that there are still debates on this but I can't see any doughtful stage in monism to computationalism conversion: If mind is just a property of the brain, and if brain is only a computer, then mind can be emerged from a computer, one example of such a computer being the human's brain. I think they are exactly equivalent to each other, but I need to know what scientists think; I am only 18 afterall. $\endgroup$ – seyed sepehr mousavi Dec 12 '19 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ That might be better. I think of them as sort of separate ways of looking at the problem but it's possible someone has argued for or against connecting them. As a scientist I'm more interested in the empirical evidence than the philosophy, though. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 12 '19 at 19:06
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Note: While "The Basic Theory of the Mind" may potentially be well researched and possibly accurate, it is (as far as I know) a self-published discourse by a non-researcher, that is not peer-reviewed. As such, I will not address it specifically.

Monism, the view that the brain and mind are one entity, is often associated with a family of philosophy of mind viewpoints called functionalism - the idea that mental states are defined solely by their functional role. A related approach is computationalism - the idea that mental states are defined by their information processing function.

Thus, computationalism's answer to the hard problem of consciousness (the question of how the brain gives rise to the mind under monism), is that the mind is an emergent phenomenon due to information processing in the brain. A well-known theory that supports this particular view with evidence is Integrated Information Theory (IIT). While this is a popular view, it is not the only one, and hence it is not fair to say that monism implies computationalism.

A list of monistic alternatives to computationalism can be found on Wikipedia. A couple of interesting examples:

Physicalism: The physical properties of the brain also matter (ie, not just its information processing properties). This implies that a brain made of silicon, performing the exact same information processing as a brain made of carbon, may not share the same conscious experience, because they are physically different.

Eliminative materialism: Conscious experience does not exist. That is, people's common-sense understanding of the mind is incorrect, and the mind is essentially reducible to the biological properties of the brain.

Wikipedia also mentions functionalism, behaviourism, type physicalism, and emergentism. Other alternatives worth mentioning:

Representationalism: The mind is an internal representation of the brain - ie, not a physical phenomenon, but an interpretation of physical phenomena.

Philosophical zombies: The conceivability of a zombie, physically indistinguishable from a human being, but having no conscious experience (no mind), suggests that computationalism is incorrect.

Idealism: We are making a mistake trying to determine how the mind arises from the brain, because it is the other way around - the mind is the fundamental reality from which all else arises.

Cognitive Closure: We simply lack the intellectual capacity to understand the brain-mind relationship.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for this great answer. So computationalism is supported by only some of the monistic theories, and not all. $\endgroup$ – seyed sepehr mousavi Dec 13 '19 at 8:43

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