Abstract for AISB 2000: How to Design a Functioning Mind

Abstract for the
Symposium on How to Design a Functioning Mind
17-18th April 2000
At the AISB'00 Convention

AUTHOR: Patrick Hayes
    IHMC, University of West Florida

TITLE: How to make a Self.

The computational paradigm can account, in broad terms, for many
of the phenomena of consciousness, as Dennett (1991) argues
convincingly. The general idea is that the mechanism of
consciusness is an internal representational narrative (also
called a 'global workspace' or a 'world model'), suitably
embedded in a functional architecture, and the phenomenal aspects
of consciousness are the content of this narrative. However, this
kind of account has some problems, most notably the fact that
there seem to be aspects of this internal narrative which we are
not, and cannot be, conscious of. The distinction between
conscious awareness and unconscious information processing (for
example in the visual system) must therefore be based on
something more than the simple presence of the relevant
information. Another missing aspect is the self; the sense of
personal integrity which is a hallmark of normal conscious

Building on pioneering work by Perlis (1997), we will suggest a
representational solution to both of these problems. Perlis
posits an "ur-quale" which arises from a particular kind of
self-modelling computation. This paper sketches how strong
self-reference might evolve in a simpler architecture as a result
of the interaction of processes of truth maintenance, episodic
memory and active spatial location, and why the resulting
representational structure would give rise to many of the
characteristic phenomenal aspects of the subjective self. This
account has the merit of not requiring exotic computational
architectures to support a self-concept. Finally we will suggest
ways in which this mechanism might break down and produce

Dennett 1991 Consciousness Explained. Back Bay.

Perlis 1997 Consciousness as Self-function. J. Consciousness Studies
4, 5-6, pp 509-25


Patrick J. Hayes
John C. Pace, Jr. Visiting Eminent Scholar

Pat Hayes received a BA in mathematics from Cambridge University and a
PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh. He is currently the John
Pace Jr. Eminent Scholar at the University of West Florida. He has held
academic positions in computer science at the University of Essex
(England), in philosophy at the University of Illinois and as the Luce
Professor of cognitive science at the University of Rochester. He has
been a visiting scholar at Universite de Geneve and the Center for
Advanced Study in the Behavioral Studies at Stanford, and has directed
applied AI research at Xerox-PARC, SRI and Schlumberger, Inc..

Pat has been secretary of AISB, chairman and trustee of IJCAI, a
governor of the Cognitive Science Society and president of AAAI.

Pat's research interests include knowledge representation and automatic
reasoning, especially the representation of space and time and
diagrammatic representations, and the philosophical foundations of AI
and computer science. He also restores antique mechanical clocks,
remodels old houses and enjoys arguing with anyone about almost
anything. Pat is a Fellow of AAAI and has professional competence in
domestic plumbing, carpentery and electrical work.