Consciousness and the language faculty: awareness, qualia and natural language using agents


I would like to begin with the role of language in settling the problem of consciousness. Some expressions of our everyday language (“entering the consciousness”, “accesible to consciousness” “consciousness reads”) suggest the wrong idea of the phenomenon, namely consciousness as something external in relation to mental states. My first claim is that mental states are conscious due to some internal property. Accepting Chalmers' disctinction between psychological and phenomenal consciousness I will analyse functioning of a natural language processing agent of the SNePS system and indicate hypothesized places and roles for psychological consciousness. Although explaining the language faculty requires taking into account only awareness, language is also inseparably connected with qualia. Answering the question why qualia accompany some (and what) aspects of language, I will speculate that qualia (regardless their experiential character) have a function similar to Damasio's “somatic marker”: they allow a kind of pre-processing, triggering psychological mechanisms.

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