Tag Archives: Brain

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 consciousness a thing or a process? Yes.

I came across this tweet by Amanda Gefter: If you've never read James's 1904 essay "Does Consciousness Exist?" please do so immediately. Spoiler alert: No. No it does not. #WilliamJames — Amanda Gefter (@AmandaGefter) January 11, 2019 William James, the … Continue reading

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Higher order theories of consciousness and metacognition

Some of you know, from various conversations, that over the last year or so I’ve flirted with the idea that consciousness is metacognition, although I’ve gradually backed away from it.  In humans, we typically define mental activity that we can … 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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The prospects for a scientific understanding of consciousness

Michael Shermer has an article up at Scientific American asking if science will ever understand consciousness, free will, or God. I contend that not only consciousness but also free will and God are mysterian problems—not because we are not yet … Continue reading

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Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? Is that a relevant question?

A while back, Julia Galef on Rationally Speaking interviewed Eric Jonas, one of the authors of a study that attempted to use neuroscience techniques on a simple computer processor. The field of neuroscience has been collecting more and more data, … Continue reading

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The layers of emotion creation

What are emotions?  Where do they come from?  Are they something innate or something we learn?  The classic view is that they’re precognitive impulses that happen to us.  If so, this would imply that they have specific neural signatures. Early … Continue reading

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