In philosophy of mind
, the concept of a person made not of carbon
but of silicon
. Since silicon (14) falls immediately beneath carbon (6) in the periodic table
of elements, it has the same number of free electrons
to give, and therefore should bond in similar ways. In theory, a race of silicon-based creatures could've evolved
into bodies isofunctional
with our own.
If, from the functionalist analysis, we are merely the sum of our networks of molecular relationships, oughtn't silcon-based creatures ("Martians," in the classic example) be conscious in precisely the same ways that we are?
The concept of Martians has been used to debate both intentionality and functionalism. I first stumbled upon the notion in Daniel Dennett's book Consciousness Explained.