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< Articles by Julian Jaynes

The Diachronicity of Consciousness

Julian Jaynes
In Giuseppe Trautteur (ed.), Consciousness: Distinction and Reflection (Italy: Bibliopolis, 1995).
Based on a lecture by Julian Jaynes at the "Workshop on Consciousness" in Venice, 1991.

Excerpt:

What I wish to present in this paper is essentially a historical theory that results in a conclusion that consciousness cannot be understood apart from its history, and therefore, unfortunately, is not simulable by a computer. And if it is not, then the richer question of whether or not a computer can be conscious is moot. To me, all discussions of the mind must be diachronic, not synchronic as most such discussions are. It is a position which I recognize is not popular or even consonant with modern philosophical thinking, but is one which I would like to urge upon you whether or not you accept the details of what I am going to present.