Russellian monism, the same as illusionism?

I usually have to wait for the audio version of these Mind Chat podcasts, but this one seemed a reasonable length and I had some time this weekend. Keith Frankish, an illusionist, and Philip Goff, a panpsychist, interviewed Noam Chomsky for his views on consciousness. (The video is about 72 minutes. You don't necessarily need … Continue reading Russellian monism, the same as illusionism?

Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Occam's razor

Jim Al-Khalili has an article at OpenMind attacking Occam's razor, at least in the form it's typically articulated, that the simplest explanation should be preferred. Al-Khalili correctly points out that there are a lot of problems with that version of the principle. Simply preferring the explanation we think is the simplest is often just favoring … Continue reading Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Why I’m enjoying The Rings of Power more than House of the Dragon

It's an interesting time for fantasy fans, with two major series airing at the same time. There have been a lot of comparisons between them, and speculation on which would "win". Of course, there's no particular reason to see these shows as competitors since a lot of people, like me, will watch both. They're similar … Continue reading Why I’m enjoying The Rings of Power more than House of the Dragon

The possibility of civilization collapsing and longtermism

This Kurzgesagt video is interesting. It discusses the possibility of civilization collapsing and how it might affect the long term fate of humanity. It's about 11 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W93XyXHI8Nw Kurzgesagt: Is Civilization on the Brink of Collapse? One of the things the video gets into is how we should think about our present day decisions, decisions … Continue reading The possibility of civilization collapsing and longtermism

Westworld and the dangers of artificial people

It's strange that I've never posted about Westworld. Looking back, it might have been because the first season finished in late 2016 during a period of high distraction (at least for me), the second season happened during my "blogging winter" in 2018 (another period of distraction), and the third, while mildly entertaining, was nothing to … Continue reading Westworld and the dangers of artificial people

The specificity problem

Picture of a lancelet

Henry Shevlin has an interesting paper from 2021 in Mind & Language that just went open access: Non-human consciousness and the specificity problem: A modest theoretical proposal. Shevlin discusses the problem of applying cognitive theories of consciousness, developed within the context of human psychology, to non-human systems, such as animals or artificial systems. For example, … Continue reading The specificity problem

Consciousness, illusions, and definitions

Strawberries

I've discussed many times that the word "consciousness" has a variety of meanings. But most commonly, the various meanings can be grouped into two broad categories. One refers to some combination of functionality, typically the information processing that happens in the brain enabling an organism to take in, assess, and use information about itself and … Continue reading Consciousness, illusions, and definitions