Category Archives: Mind and AI

Layers of self awareness and animal cognition

In the last consciousness post, which discussed issues with panpsychism and simple definitions of consciousness, I laid out five functional layers of cognition which I find helpful when trying to think about systems that are more or less conscious.  Just … Continue reading

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Panpsychism and layers of consciousness

I’ve written before about panpyschism, the outlook that everything is conscious and that consciousness permeates the universe.  However, that previous post was within the context of replying to a TEDx talk, and I’m not entirely satisfied with the remarks I … Continue reading

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The system components of pain

Peter Hankins at Conscious Entities has a post looking at the morality of consciousness, which is a commentary on piece at Nautilus by Jim Davies on the same topic.  I recommend reading both posts in their entirety, but the overall … Continue reading

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Why embodiment does not make mind copying impossible

A while back, I highlighted a TEDX talk by Anil Seth where he discussed that cognition is largely a prediction machine.  Apparently Seth more recently gave another talk at the full TED conference, which is receiving rave reviews.  Unfortunately, that talk … Continue reading

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Is consciousness only in the back of the brain?

There’s an interesting debate going on among some neuroscientists about which parts of the brain are involved in subjective experience.  On the one side are Christof Koch, Giuilio Tononi, and colleagues who argue that consciousness exists wholly in the back of … Continue reading

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What about subjective experience implies anything non-physical?

Mary’s room is a classic philosophical thought experiment about consciousness.  The Wikipedia article on what’s called the knowledge argument quotes Frank Jackson, the originator of the argument, as follows: Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced … Continue reading

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A possible answer to the hard problem of consciousness: subjective experience is communication

In 1995, David Chalmers coined the “hard problem of consciousness”: It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that … Continue reading

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The illusion of phenomenal consciousness?

Philosopher Peter Hankins at Conscious Entities has a write-up on the November 12 issue of the JCS (Journal of Consciousness Studies) in which philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists such as Keith Frankish, Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore, and Michael Graziano, debate whether it makes … Continue reading

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Is consciousness a simulation engine, a prediction machine?

Back in September (which now seems like a million years ago), I did a series of posts on consciousness inspired by Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt’s recent book, ‘The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience‘.  In that series, … Continue reading

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The problems with philosophical zombies

In any online conversation about consciousness, sooner or later someone is going to bring up philosophical zombies as an argument for consciousness being non-physical, or at least some portion of it.  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy introduces the p-zombie concept as follows: … Continue reading

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