Explanatory gap

From Academic Kids

The basic idea of the explanatory gap is that human experience (such as qualia) cannot be fully explained by mechanical processes; that something extra, perhaps even of a different metaphysical type, must be added to "fill the gap". The Explanatory Gap has vexed and intrigued philosophers and AI researchers alike for decades and caused considerable debate.

To take a condition in which there is no gap, imagine a modern computer: as marvelous as these devices are, their behavior can be fully explained by their circuitry, and vice versa. By contrast, it is thought by some that consciousness constitutes a separate effect that demands another cause, and that this cause is either outside of the physical world (dualism) or due to as yet unknown physical phenomena (see for instance Quantum mind, Indirect realism).

John Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment was an attempt to illustrate the explanatory gap.

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