The latest volume of Love, Death & Robots dropped Friday on Netflix. I had hoped to meter my watching of them this time, but it didn't happen. I avoided binging the whole thing Friday night, but by last night I was done. As usual, these are all relatively short, in the 10-20 minute range. All … Continue reading Love, Death & Robots, Volume 3
When it comes to my philosophy of consciousness, I've noted many times that I'm a functionalist, someone who sees mental states, including conscious ones, as being more about what they do, their causal roles and relations, than what they are. Since functionalism focuses on functionality exclusively, it often gets lumped in with illusionism, which typically … Continue reading What does it mean to be “like something”?
The idea of objectivity gets a lot of criticism. One common complaint is that it's a fantasy viewpoint, a God's eye view that doesn't exist, a view from nowhere that we can never take. This is a common complaint I've seen from people who think studying consciousness in a third person manner is misguided. It … Continue reading A thought about objectivity
Someone called my attention to a new paper by Michael Graziano: A conceptual framework for consciousness. I've highlighted Graziano's approach and theory many times over the years. I think his Attention Schema Theory provides important insights into how top down attention works. But it's his overall approach that I find the most value in. He's … Continue reading Graziano’s non-mystical approach to consciousness
The other day I shared a video on quantum computing, which I thought was informative, but the feedback I received is that it wasn't for anyone not already versed in the subject. Since I once struggled to understand this subject myself, I tried to think of a way of describing it that would actually help. … Continue reading A way to understand quantum computing
I had to watch this several times before I saw it, so don't be discouraged if you don't the first time. If you're having trouble, it auto-replays at the original TikTok. https://twitter.com/social_brains/status/1518786027288104960 When you do see it, assuming you didn't initially, what were you conscious of before you caught it? Does it make sense to … Continue reading An exercise in detection
When writing about the mind and consciousness, and how it exists in material systems, many of us resort to functional hierarchies. (Mine typically start with physical interaction and work all the way up to self reflection.) Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam have a similar idea, and have written a whole book on it: Journey of … Continue reading From molecule minds to superminds
Ok, so I'm pretty late to the party on this one. Avatar: The Last Airbender is a world famous animated series. It's American animation, but done in the style of Japanese shonen anime. It's also kid friendly, something that is very evident in the early episodes. For a long time, despite many assurance from friends … Continue reading Avatar: The Last Airbender
James of Seattle clued me in to a thought experiment described by Dr. Anna Schapiro in a Twitter thread. https://twitter.com/AnnaSchapiro/status/1512866137809195011 It's very similar to one discussed in a new preprint paper: Do action potentials cause consciousness? Like all good thought experiments, it exercises and challenges our intuitions. In this case, it forces us to contemplate … Continue reading How much can we change the causality of the brain and keep consciousness?
Last week, Science News had an article about the difficulty of studying animal emotions, on understanding what an animal in a particular situation is really feeling. It's an interesting article, although not one with much new information for many of you. However, I want to focus on one point raised by one of the researchers … Continue reading The benefits of functionalism for animal welfare