I've often noted that I find more consilience than disagreement between the empirically grounded theories of consciousness. They seem to be looking at the problem at differing levels of organization, and together they may present a growing scientific consensus about how the mind works. In particular, a few weeks ago, when discussing higher order theories, … Continue reading A standard model of consciousness?
Along the lines of last night's post, Keith Frankish has an article at Aeon describing and defending the illusionist viewpoint, that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. It's an excellent introduction for anyone who isn't familiar with the basic argument. As noted before, I think the illusionists are right about the reality, but I’m not sure … Continue reading Keith Frankish on the consciousness illusion
The Journal of Consciousness Studies has an issue out on the meta-problem of consciousness. (Unfortunately, it's paywalled, so you'll need a subscription, or access to a school network that has one.) As a reminder, there's the hard problem of consciousness, coined by David Chalmers in 1995, which is the question of why or how we … Continue reading Is consciousness really a problem?
M. Anthony Mills has a short piece at Politico advocating the return of the OTA (Office of Technology Assessment), which was defunded in the 1990s as a budget cutting measure. The argument is that congress needs to know more about science and technology, that maybe if they knew more, they'd make better decisions. Except, politics … Continue reading Don’t teach Congress about science and technology; teach the voters
I'm just about finished reading Sean Carroll's Something Deeply Hidden. I was going to wait to post this until I'd completely finished, but all I've got left is the appendix, I perceive that I've gotten through the main points, and discussion on the previous post is veering in this direction. As widely reported, Carroll is … Continue reading Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden
Albert Einstein, with his theory of special relativity, established that the speed of light is the absolute speed limit of the universe. A rocket ship attempting to accelerate to the speed of light encounters some well known effects: time dilation, mass increase, and length contraction. The closer to the speed of light it gets, the … Continue reading Why you can’t use quantum entanglement for faster than light communication
I have to make a correction. In my post on LeDoux's views on consciousness and emotions, I made the following statement: Anyway, LeDoux states that there is “no convincing” evidence for instrumental behavior in pre-mammalian vertebrates, or in invertebrates. In his view, instrumental behavior only exists in mammals and birds. As it turns out, this … Continue reading A correction: LeDoux’s actual views on instrumental learning in vertebrates
A couple of years ago, when writing about panpsychism, I introduced a five layer conception of consciousness. The idea back then was to show a couple of things. One was that very simple conceptions of consciousness, such as interactions with the environment, were missing a lot of capabilities that we intuitively think of as belonging … Continue reading Layers of consciousness, September 2019 edition
In the last post, I mentioned that I was reading Joseph LeDoux's new book, The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains. There's a lot of interesting stuff in this book. As its title implies, it starts early in evolution, providing a lot of information on early life, although … Continue reading Joseph LeDoux’s theories on consciousness and emotions