The problem with Mary’s room

For some reason, Mary's room has been garnering attention lately.  This TED Ed video on it was shared on Aeon's site this week. The wording of the actual thought experiment is important, so quoting Frank Jackson's words (via the Wikipedia article on the knowledge argument): Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, … Continue reading The problem with Mary’s room

The facilitation hypothesis

Jonathan Birch has an interesting paper in Noûs: The search for invertebrate consciousness.  Birch notes that there is no consensus on whether any invertebrates are conscious, and no agreement on a methodology for establishing whether they are. He starts off assessing the difficulties of applying many human centric theories, such as global workspace, which don't … Continue reading The facilitation hypothesis

Dimensions of animal consciousness

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

Regular people: What hard problem of 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?

The blogging experience at 1000 posts

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

What do alien civilizations look like from afar?

This is a pretty good description of the Kardashev Scale of civilization energy usage. 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?