Joseph LeDoux has an article at Nautilus on The Tricky Problem with Other Minds. It's an excerpt from his new book, which I'm currently reading. For an idea of the main thesis: The fact that animals can only respond nonverbally means there is no contrasting class of response that can be used to distinguish conscious … Continue reading The problem of animal minds
Month: August 2019
Machine learning and the need for innate foundations
This interesting Nature article by Anthony M. Zador came up in my Twitter feed: A critique of pure learning and what artificial neural networks can learn from animal brains: Artificial neural networks (ANNs) have undergone a revolution, catalyzed by better supervised learning algorithms. However, in stark contrast to young animals (including humans), training such networks … Continue reading Machine learning and the need for innate foundations
Ginger Campbell is doing a series on consciousness
I've highlighted Dr. Ginger Campbell's excellent Brain Science Podcast before. It's an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the science of the brain. Many of the books and concepts I've highlighted here over the years, I first heard about on her show. Campbell, a medical doctor, pretty much focuses on neuroscience rather than philosophy, but … Continue reading Ginger Campbell is doing a series on consciousness
The reflex and the feeling
Stephen T. Asma and Rami Gabriel have an interesting article at Aeon on emotions. Their main thesis is that many emotions are biological, universal, and rooted in evolution. And that they arise through "the strata of consciousness": the physiological, the experential, and the conceptual. They start off casting aspersions on computationalism, evolutionary psychology, and artificial … Continue reading The reflex and the feeling
Recommendation: What Is Real?
Last week I started listening to a Sean Carroll podcast episode, an interview of Adam Becker on his book, What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics. Before even finishing the episode, I downloaded Becker's book and read it. Becker starts out in the early decades of the 20th century, when … Continue reading Recommendation: What Is Real?
The Anthropocene is a conceit of human exceptionalism
Peter Brannen has an interesting piece in the Atlantic, pointing out that the Anthropocene is more of a geological event rather than an epoch, at least so far. Humans are now living in a new geological epoch of our own making: the Anthropocene. Or so we’re told. Whereas some epochs in Earth history stretch more … Continue reading The Anthropocene is a conceit of human exceptionalism
Is the ultimate nature of reality mental?
Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars had a term for the world as it appears, the "manifest image." This is the world as we perceive it. In it, an apple is an apple, something red or green with a certain shape, a range of sizes, a thing that we can eat, or throw. The manifest image can be … Continue reading Is the ultimate nature of reality mental?
Detecting consciousness in animals and machines, inside-out
An interesting paper came up in my feeds this weekend: Indicators and Criteria of Consciousness in Animals and Intelligent Machines: An Inside-Out Approach. The authors put forth a definition of consciousness, and then criteria to test for it, although they emphasize that these can't be "hard" criteria, just indicators. None of them individually definitely establish … Continue reading Detecting consciousness in animals and machines, inside-out
Recommendation: Altered Carbon: Download Blues
I posted a while back on the Netflix series, Altered Carbon, based on the books by Richard K. Morgan. The series presents a universe where everyone has a device implanted in their brainstem shortly after birth that records their personality, so that if they die, the device can be moved to either another human body, … Continue reading Recommendation: Altered Carbon: Download Blues
Higher order theories of consciousness
I've posted on HOT (higher order thought theories of consciousness) before, but there's a new paper out covering the basics of these types of theories. Since first reading about HOT many months ago, the framework has been growing on me. The paper is not too technical and I think would be accessible to most interested … Continue reading Higher order theories of consciousness