We believe consciousness to be real, representational, and composed of phenomenal properties which are categorically different than behavioral properties.
In his book: "Consciousness explained" Daniel Dennett claims we don't experience qualia "It just seems like we do." (P 375) But the very meaning of to seem is to have knowledge that doesn't accurately represent its referent making this an obvious thinking error; for we are only talking about the actual phenomenal qualities of this knowledge which really has nothing to do with whether such phenomenal qualities are misrepresenting something or not.
We believe the perception process to be based on a chain of cause and effect physical events. There is what we are looking at, beyond our eyes, which is the initial cause of the perception process. There is also our knowledge of what we are looking at which is the final result of the perception process entirely in our brain. We believe this conscious knowledge to be composed of phenomenal properties. "Red" is a phenomenal property in our brain that is only related to the surface of something that reflects 700nm light, only because our brain happens to use that phenomenal quality to represent it.
We think the red strawberry amongst the green leaves we are aware of is out beyond our eyes, and that we are directly aware of it. But this is an illusion. In reality, this knowledge is entirely in our head, in a conscious spirit world model of the reality we perceive. At the center of this phenomenal 3D world in our brain is the knowledge of our body. When we stub our toe, the pain is produced by the brain. It only seems like it is in our toe, because the pain is in our knowledge of the toe in our brain, not the real toe it represents that is part of our foot. Phantom limb pain, produced by amputees, results because our knowledge of the appendages in our brain is not amputated with the limb.
Inside our knowledge of our head (a spiritual head, if you will, representing and entirely contained within our real head) is a knowledge of our "self" or "spirit" or "I". This "I" is represented as looking out of our knowledge of our eyes. But of course, this knowledge that is our spirit, unlike most everything else in this conscious spirit world, has no referent in reality. However, though it has no referent in reality, this in no way means it does not exist. This phenomenal "spirit" is what we really and literally spiritually are. During "out of body experiences" this knowledge of our spirit leaves our knowledge of our body, all in the "spirit world" of our conscious awareness, all in and dependent on our brain.
All this conscious knowledge is composed of ineffable phenomenal properties. We know the difference between the green leaf and the red strawberry, precisely because of the phenomenal difference between red and green. We believe it is absurd to think the only way to determine the nature of another intelligence or consciousness is through a "Turing Test". To know such, you simply must ask a question like: "What is Red like?" And in order to know the other mind isn't lying, you must be able to "eff" this phenomenal quality to the other mind by reproducing whatever it is in the original mind that has this same quality. This effing would be similar to the way we can know the difference between red represented in the left hemisphere of our brain and green represented in the right hemisphere of our brain. Once the taste of salt is effed to another mind, whether this mind be natural or artificial, the response will be something like: "Oh THAT is what salt tastes like."
We believe science is on the verge of getting an objective handle on these phenomenal properties finally resolving how they work and many other conundrums of self and epistemology philosophy has been struggling with for so long. We believe such a discovery will be the most significant, profound and world changing of scientific achievements to date. For such a discovery will be the literal piercing of this ineffable spiritual veil, that can be thought of as our skull, spiritually freeing us from this isolated, lonely, mortal prison, out into a shared subjective physical world that surely must be much more than just "behavior".
Steve Lehar, an early leader in the Mind Experts
topic maintains The Representationalism Web Site
This theory makes profound predictions about what things like uploading and "escaping from our mortal spirit prison" will be like, should it turn out to be true. A detailed description of such predictions in story form is contained in chapters 5 and 6 of the short story by Brent Allsop entitled "1229 years after Titanic" available here: http://home.comcast.net/~brent.allsop