America’s long path to universal voting rights

My memory of what I learned in early grade school about the history of American voting rights went something like this.  Prior to 1776, we were ruled by the king of Great Britain.  He was a tyrant who oppressed us with taxation without representation, so we rebelled and set up a democracy.  (UK readers, I see … Continue reading America’s long path to universal voting rights

A possible answer to the hard problem of consciousness: subjective experience is communication

In 1995, David Chalmers coined the "hard problem of consciousness": It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have visual or auditory … Continue reading A possible answer to the hard problem of consciousness: subjective experience is communication

The illusion of phenomenal consciousness?

Philosopher Peter Hankins at Conscious Entities has a write-up on the November 12 issue of the JCS (Journal of Consciousness Studies) in which philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists such as Keith Frankish, Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore, and Michael Graziano, debate whether it makes sense to refer to phenomenal consciousness as an illusion.  Unfortunately the full text of the … Continue reading The illusion of phenomenal consciousness?

Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

I came across this old TED talk today and decided to share it because it's relevant to the previous post on consciousness and simulations.  Daniel Wolpert's talk doesn't address consciousness specifically, only the overall role of the simulations, but it's still a fascinating exploration of what we're doing when our attention is focused on a … Continue reading Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

Is consciousness a simulation engine, a prediction machine?

Back in September (which now seems like a million years ago), I did a series of posts on consciousness inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s recent book, ‘The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience‘.  In that series, I explored consciousness as a system modeling its environment and itself as a guide to … Continue reading Is consciousness a simulation engine, a prediction machine?