The function of color

Pencils of all the primary colors in a circle

In the history of discussions about consciousness, there have always been ideas that some aspects of human experience are irreducible to physics. Colors have long had a special place in these discussions. During the scientific revolution, colors lost their status as objective properties in the world, with people like Galileo relegating them to secondary qualities … Continue reading The function of color

Do regular people see a hard problem of consciousness?

This week the latest Mind Chat episode focused on whether regular people actually perceive a hard problem of consciousness, or if it's an issue largely created by philosophers. Keith Frankish and Philip Goff interview Michelle Liu and Edouard Machery. (The video is a bit over two hours. You don't necessarily need to watch it to … Continue reading Do regular people see a hard problem of consciousness?

The debate between phenomenal realism and illusionism, and the scope of perceptual properties

In the last post, I pondered the idea that the real difference between a realist and anti-realist stance toward a scientific theory is about how broad or narrow the scope of the theory might be, about it's domain of applicability. An anti-realist takes a narrower view on scope; such as that the theory can be … Continue reading The debate between phenomenal realism and illusionism, and the scope of perceptual properties

Russellian monism, the same as illusionism?

I usually have to wait for the audio version of these Mind Chat podcasts, but this one seemed a reasonable length and I had some time this weekend. Keith Frankish, an illusionist, and Philip Goff, a panpsychist, interviewed Noam Chomsky for his views on consciousness. (The video is about 72 minutes. You don't necessarily need … Continue reading Russellian monism, the same as illusionism?

Consciousness, illusions, and definitions


I've discussed many times that the word "consciousness" has a variety of meanings. But most commonly, the various meanings can be grouped into two broad categories. One refers to some combination of functionality, typically the information processing that happens in the brain enabling an organism to take in, assess, and use information about itself and … Continue reading Consciousness, illusions, and definitions

Attention and consciousness

I noted in the post on Susan Blackmore's views that often consciousness get associated with the results of one of three processes: perception, attention, or introspection. Interestingly, while everyone and their brother has a book out on consciousness, attention receives far less... attention. At least in the popular press. The science of attention has a … Continue reading Attention and consciousness

Susan Blackmore’s illusionism

Susan Blackmore's Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction may have been the first book I read on consciousness many years ago. Recent conversations rekindled my interest in her views. I'm pretty sure her discussion of consciousness as an illusion was the first time I had encountered that idea. Strong illusionists such as Keith Frankish and Daniel … Continue reading Susan Blackmore’s illusionism

What does it mean to be “like something”?

Common Vampire Bat

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”?

Graziano’s non-mystical approach to consciousness

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