Are you saying the pieces of wood are competing?
No. But some piece of wood is first. Some neural causal chains make it to the output device. I just wanted to say there is no need for a decider.
Are you saying that brain regions that are competing simply yield to each other if they feel they have “lost”,
No. That would be explaining consciousness with help of conscious processes. And I do not mean brain regions, but causal neural threads (or waves, or whatever) that make it to some output device. They don’t have to feel anything, like the pieces of wood.
I’m only trying to decide whether it is in one place or not. I am looking at it from a computational perspective, so obviously I am not a dualist.
If you think it is in one region of the brain, you just shifted the problem of consciousness to another location. In this respect, you did not even start to get over dualism, in spite of your words.
It would be like having separate computers for processing each of the senses. If the computers never communicate or feed information to a server, that information would never come together and there would be no conscious experience of them.
Well the computers must communicate of course, but it does not follow there is one server where everything must come together. To give a fantasy-example: imagine you see a huge fire in front of you, you feel the heat, but you hear the voice of your beloved come from the fire, saying ‘Come to me, domokato, I need you’. What will ‘you’ do? Run away or step into the fire? Isn’t that the question of which thread, one originating from your audible subsystem, the other from your vision, in the end will win the power over your motoric system, especially those of your legs? (OK, I know, this is an oversimplifying example, but you might get the idea. Otherwise look at the ‘big feet’ example of Dennett again…)
How does that work? How can they consciously decide to move the left side or the right side of their body if there is no communication between the two sides of the brain. Wouldn’t both sides of their body be moving independently?
Normally not, because both hemispheres are still ‘connected’: via the world out there. Split brain patients must always look that they observe the world with both hemispheres. Normally our movements guarantee that. That is the reason one must do experiments to really demonstrate that something is special with split brain patients, like using headphones with different signals left and right, or having a shield in such a way that the eyes get different information.