Anil Seth’s theory of consciousness

I recently completed Anil Seth's new book, Being You: A New Science of Consciousness. Seth starts out discussing David Chalmers' hard problem of consciousness, as well as views like physicalism, idealism, panpsychism, and functionalism. Seth is a physicalist, but is suspicious of functionalism. Seth makes a distinction between the hard problem, which he characterizes as … Continue reading Anil Seth’s theory of consciousness

What philosophers believe, 2020 edition

Back in 2009, David Bourget and David Chalmers conducted a survey of professional philosophers, asking for their positions on 40 questions. Over the years, a number of people have pointed out the existence of that survey. While I don't think anyone should change their position purely based on what large numbers of philosophers think, it's … Continue reading What philosophers believe, 2020 edition

Some words might simply no longer be productive for precise conversations

Moses holding the Ten Commandments

Ronnie de Souza has an interesting article at Aeon on why he thinks the concept of morality isn't helpful. His overall thesis is that the idea that there are things that are right or wrong without qualification, in and of itself, adds nothing useful to the conversation. We can find reasons why or why not … Continue reading Some words might simply no longer be productive for precise conversations

Sources of information on neuroscience

It's been a while since I listed good sources to learn about neuroscience and the brain. I think anyone interested in consciousness and the mind should get a grounding in the basics. It's a bit of work, but the introductory accounts aren't anything unmanageable for someone who can parse philosophically dense material. And it enables … Continue reading Sources of information on neuroscience

Perceptions are dispositions all the way down

(Warning: neuroscience weeds) Some years ago, I reviewed Antonio Damasio's theory of consciousness, based on his book, Self Comes to Mind. (He has a newer book, The Strange Order of Things, which I haven't read yet, so this may not represent his most current views.) In that book, Damasio makes a distinction between two types … Continue reading Perceptions are dispositions all the way down

Consciousness and intelligence

Chimp using a stick

The other day, when discussing Mark Solms' book, I noted that he is working to create an artificial consciousness, but that he emphasizes that he isn't aiming for intelligence, just the conscious part, as though consciousness and intelligence are unrelated. This seems to fit with his affect centered theory of consciousness, and it matches a … Continue reading Consciousness and intelligence

A perceptual hierarchy of consciousness

I've discussed many times how difficult consciousness can be to define. One of the earliest modern definitions, from John Locke, was, "the perception of what passes in a man's own mind." This definition makes consciousness inherently about introspection. But other definitions over the centuries have focused on knowledge in general as well as intentionality, the … Continue reading A perceptual hierarchy of consciousness