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To people who don't share Dennett's philosophical intuitions, these arguments may seem unintelligible. (It's one thing to say feelings are generated by the brain, which Chalmers and McGinn believe, but what does it even mean to say feelings are the brain?) Still, that doesn't mean Dennett is wrong. Some people share his intuitions and find the thinking of his critics opaque. Consciousness is one of those questions so deep that frequently people with different views don't just fail to convince one another, they fail even to communicate. The unintelligibility is often mutual.
Chalmers isn't a hard-core mysterian like McGinn. He thinks a solution to the consciousness puzzle is possible. But he thinks it will require recognizing that consciousness is something "over and above the physical" and then building a theory some might call metaphysical. This word has long been out of vogue in philosophy, and even Chalmers uses it only under duress, since it makes people think of crystals and Shirley MacLaine. He prefers "psychophysical."
In The Conscious Mind, Chalmers speculatively sets out a psychophysical theory. Maybe, he says, consciousness is a "nonphysical" property of the universe vaguely comparable to physical properties like mass or space or time. And maybe, by some law of the universe, consciousness accompanies certain configurations of information, such as brains. Maybe information, though composed of ordinary matter, is a special incarnation of matter and has two sides--the physical and the experiential. (Insert Twilight Zone music here.)
In this view, Cog may indeed have consciousness. So might a pandemonium machine. So might a thermostat. Chalmers thinks it quite possible that AI research may someday generate--may now be generating--new spheres of consciousness unsensed by the rest of us. Strange as it may seem, the prospect that we are creating a new species of sentient life is now being taken seriously in philosophy.
Though Turing generally shied away from such metaphysical questions, his 1950 paper did touch briefly on this issue. Some people, he noted, might complain that to create true thinking machines would be to create souls, and thus exercise powers reserved for God. Turing disagreed. "In attempting to construct such machines we should not be irreverently usurping his power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children," Turing wrote. "Rather we are, in either case, instruments of his will providing mansions for the souls that he creates."