Category Archives: Mind and AI

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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Dogs have metacognition, maybe

Last year in a post on panpsychism, I introduced a hierarchy I use to conceptualize the capabilities of systems that we intuitively see as conscious.  This isn’t a new theory of consciousness or anything, just my own way of making … Continue reading

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On imagination, feelings, and brain regions

The last post on feelings generated some excellent conversations.  In a couple of them, it was pointed out that my description of feelings put a lot of work on the concept of imagination, and that maybe I should expand on … Continue reading

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The construction of feelings

I’ve had a number of conversations lately on the subject of feelings, the affective states of having valences about conscious perception, such as fear, pain, joy, hunger, etc.  Apparently a lot of people view feelings as a very mysterious phenomenon.  … Continue reading

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