Category Archives: Mind and AI

The difficulty of subjective experience

As I indicated in the Chalmers post last week, phenomenal consciousness has been on my mind lately.  In the last few days, a couple of my fellow bloggers, Wyrd Smythe and James Cross, have joined in with their own posts.  … Continue reading

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Chalmers’ theory of consciousness

Ever since sharing Ned Block’s talk on it, phenomenal consciousness has been on my mind.  This week, I decided I needed to go back to the main spokesperson for the issue of subjective experience, David Chalmers, and his seminal paper … Continue reading

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Dehaene’s global neuronal workspace theory

I just finished reading Stanislas Dehaene’s Consciousness and the Brain.  Dehaene is a French psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist who is bullish on the idea of consciousness being something that can be scientifically investigated.  It’s an interesting book, one that I … Continue reading

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Do boiling crawfish suffer?

This Easter I visited one of my cousins and, as is tradition for a lot of people this time of year, we had a crawfish boil.  Eating boiled crawfish (crayfish for you non-Cajuns) is an ever present activity in southern … Continue reading

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The sensorium, the motorium, and the planner

I’ve been reading Gerhard Roth’s The Long Evolution of Brains and Minds. This a technical and, unfortunately, expensive book, not one aimed at general audiences, but it has a lot of interesting concepts.  A couple that Roth mentions are the … Continue reading

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Did smell lead to consciousness?

Smell has apparently always been a peculiar sense.  The sensory pathway of smell information to the brain runs completely independent from the other senses.  The pathways for the other senses run through the midbrain and thalamus and are then relayed … Continue reading

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Is the brainstem conscious?

(Warning: neuroscience weeds and references to gruesome animal research.) The vast majority of neuroscientists see consciousness as a cortical phenomenon.  It may be crucially dependent on sub-cortical and sub-cerebral structures, but subjective experience itself exists mainly or entirely in the … Continue reading

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Consciousness lies in the eye of the beholder

There are few things that everyone who ponders consciousness can agree on.  It’s a topic where debates on the very definition of the subject are common.  The only definitions that seem to command near universal assent are the ones oriented … Continue reading

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A qualified recommendation: Consciousness Demystified

A couple of years ago I did a series of posts inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s excellent  The Ancient Origins of Consciousness, a book on the evolution of animal consciousness.  Somewhat building on what I had read in … Continue reading

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Is the singularity right around the corner?

You’ve probably heard the narrative before.  At some point, we will invent an artificial intelligence that is more intelligent than we are.  The superhuman intelligence will then have the capability to either build an improved version of itself, or engineer … Continue reading

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