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I Think I AmPhilip K. Dick$
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Laurence A. Rickels

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816666652

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816666652.001.0001

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Startling Stories

Startling Stories

Chapter:
(p.285) Startling Stories
Source:
I Think I Am
Author(s):

Laurence A. Rickels

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816666652.003.0025

This chapter explores the question of consciousness as a transferrable or reproducible attribute from the perspective of Gotthard Günther. In 1953, Günther published an article in the pulp science fiction magazine Startling Stories titled “Can Mechanical Brains Have Consciousness?” in which he introduces into the model of consciousness as logical feedback mechanism the element of “confrontation” or self-difference as the very synapse of conscious thought. The question of consciousness as a transferrable or reproducible attribute often rests on one of two assumptions. A skeptical viewpoint holds that we can never know what consciousness is, anyway, or, more religiously, that consciousness is a manifestation of man’s unknowable but divinely bestowed soul. The other point of view holds that we do not know what consciousness is because it is only a label for the abstract sum of all our perceptual and apperceptual functions.

Keywords:   consciousness, Gotthard Günther, science fiction, Startling Stories, mechanical brain, logical feedback mechanism, confrontation, self-difference

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