The unproductive search for simple solutions to consciousness

(Warning: neuroscience weeds) Earlier this year I discussed Victor Lamme's theory of consciousness, that phenomenal experience is recurrent neural processing, that is, neural signalling that happens in loops, from lower layers to higher layers and back, or more broadly from region to region and back.  In his papers, Lamme notes that recurrent processing is an … Continue reading The unproductive search for simple solutions to consciousness

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhFK5_Nx9xY 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?

The substitution argument

Diagram of Phenomenal and Functional consciousness

A preprint came up a few times in my feeds, titled: Falsification and consciousness.  The paper argues that all the major scientific theories of consciousness are either already falsified or unfalsifiable.  One neuroscientist, Ryota Kanai, calls it a mathematical proof of the hard problem.  Based on that description, it was hard to resist looking at … Continue reading The substitution argument

Invasion of the farmers

Wheat field

Related to some of our recent discussions, Scientific American has an interesting article on the spread of farming during the neolithic.  From the article: Roughly 9,000 years ago farmers from the Middle East headed toward Europe, seeking new land to cultivate. The farmers traveled either along the Mediterranean coast or the Danube River, encountering hunter-gatherers who lived … Continue reading Invasion of the farmers