The semi-serious paper referenced here 'What is it like to be a rock?' was written in 1996 (I think) as an annoyed reaction to wide-spread use of the unanalysed notion of 'what it is like to be ...', in many philosophical discussions, inspired originally by Tom Nagel's well known paper 'What is it like to be a bat' (which is more careful than most).
A variant of this is the rhetorical and usually equally empty use of Harnad's phrase 'Is there anybody home?' as if any old metaphor that resonates with philosophically untrained people is suitable for specification of a topic for serious philosophical or scientific discussion.
My 'Rock' paper is available in these formats:
Originally installed here: 31 Jan 2006
Revised 15 Jul 2014, to include references to parametric polymorphism
and to Sloman and Chrisley (2003)'s discussion of virtual machine functionalism
and causal indexicality.
There is also a collection of online slide presentations on a variety of related topics, including, for example, my invited talk at the 7th Conference of ASSC, the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Memphis in 2003.
An informal retrospective overview of things I have written on this and other topics can be found in my doings.