There's an interesting article in Psyche: How to foster ‘shoshin’. "Shoshin" is a Japanese Zen word referring to a "beginner's mind." The idea is that when we take ourselves to be a beginner in a subject, or at least still a student of it, we're more open to possibilities. But as we begin to think … Continue reading Fostering an open mind
The journal, Trends in Cognitive Science, has an interesting paper up: Dimensions of Animal Consciousness. After noting the current consensus that some form of consciousness is present in at least mammals, birds, and cephalopods, it looks at how to evaluate it in various species. The authors take the position that consciousness can be present in … Continue reading Dimensions of animal consciousness
The hard problem of consciousness, a term coined by philosopher David Chalmers, asks how physical systems can produce phenomenal consciousness. Chalmers' term, coined in the 1990s, applied to an older problem that's been around for along time, the mind-body problem. More recently, Chalmers noted his intuition that the hard problem is widely and intuitively held … Continue reading Regular people: What hard problem of consciousness?
Yes, this is the 1000th post here on SelfAwarePatterns. I started this blog in November, 2013, largely from two motivations. One was because I had done Nanowrimo the previous November. (Nanowrimo is a challenge to write a novel in a month. Worth checking out if you've ever had that ambition.) I felt bad about not … Continue reading The blogging experience at 1000 posts
When I was very young, the top of my feet started itching, so I started scratching. The itching continued for weeks and months, with me constantly scratching. My poor mother, seeing my red and scratched feet, implored me to stop. But the itching was relentless and I was maybe five or six, so I kept … Continue reading The complex composition of pain
This is a pretty good description of the Kardashev Scale of civilization energy usage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhFK5_Nx9xY I initially thought the video overestimated how close we are to being a Type I civilization, but then I remembered that the whole scale is logarithmic, so maybe not. It also mentioned that we might "choose" to build a megastructure … Continue reading What do alien civilizations look like from afar?
I found this Existential Comic interesting for its insight on what things might be like for J.R.R. Tolkien's version of elves. The author, on Twitter, shared a short video on Tolkien's thoughts on death. If you're familiar with the mythology behind The Lord of the Rings, as revealed in The Silmarillion and other works, the … Continue reading The Elflord and the Mayfly
A preprint came up a few times in my feeds, titled: Falsification and consciousness. The paper argues that all the major scientific theories of consciousness are either already falsified or unfalsifiable. One neuroscientist, Ryota Kanai, calls it a mathematical proof of the hard problem. Based on that description, it was hard to resist looking at … Continue reading The substitution argument
I'm not a moral realist. But I think we definitely have personal morals, the moral norms of the culture we live in, and the moral rules we encode in law. These all interact and influence each other in an ongoing feedback process. They can be studied with psychology, sociology, anthropology, law, history, and probably some … Continue reading The forlorn search for moral realism