An unpopular philosophical intuition in this context might be that the essential self-propagating information and energy-processing patterns of (a) logical, material and organic necessity are only identifiably “sentient” or “conscious” because from within the epistemological coordinate system that they are measured from they are inevitably and circularly intelligible and self-validating. To put it another way – there are underlying symmetries of autonomously self-propagating recursive logic that we associate to, and identify as, individuation and (perhaps) subjectivity or interior experience; these patterns are not necessarily bound or parameterised by organic computation.
There exist distributed information computing systems such as communications networks or the systems, artefacts and disembodied entities of cultural representation within (and as) which we exist. It is probable that a distributed cultural (say political, ideological, narrative) information system displays many of the essential features of sentience – statistical or probabistically optimal computation, memory, adaptive selection and emergence – *without* necessary experience or awareness.
The imputation is that sentience is merely a specific instance of a ubiquitous bias towards optimally concise and autonomously self-propagating information and energy-processing systems in nature. A possible consequence of this – the “philosophically unpopular” part – is that there is nothing particularly special about consciousness, that complexity and biological selection for experience or cultural selection for identifiable subjectivity are only a narrow-band instance of a much broader-spectrum system and logical principle.
This invokes (or incurs, if poorly-received) that psychological systems are perhaps best understood as adaptive nodes in a vast information and energy-processing environment that could have many dimensional cross-sections, partitions or relational subsets. This also suggests that methods of narrative or material persuasion-for-effect are as diversely identifiable and applicable as are the information-processing or distributed computational entities they seek to influence.