One of the things about consciousness I've tried to call attention to on this blog is the ambiguity of its most common definitions, such as Thomas Nagel's definition of it being "like something" for a particular system. The problem is that when people try to get more specific, they come up with a wide variety … Continue reading Consciousness semanticism
I've only recently discovered Ricardo Lopes and his interviews of all kinds of interesting people. Here is one from a couple of years ago of Keith Frankish, the most prominent contemporary champion of illusionism, the idea that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion, that it doesn't exist, and much of this is him giving the standard … Continue reading The necessity of weak emergence
The cognitive scientist, Hakwan Lau, whose work I've highlighted several times in the last year, has been pondering illusionism recently. He did a Twitter survey on the relationship between the phenomenal concept strategy (PCS) and illusionism, which inspired my post on the PCS. (Meant to mention that in the post, but it slipped.) Anyway, he's … Continue reading Do qualia exist? Depends on what we mean by “exist.”
Massimo Pigliucci has a good article on consciousness at Aeon. In it, he takes aim both at illusionists as well as those who claim consciousness is outside the purview of science. Although I'd say he's more worked up about the illusionists. However, rather than taking the typical path of strawmanning the claim, he deals with … Continue reading Massimo on consciousness: no illusion, but also no spookiness
Along the lines of last night's post, Keith Frankish has an article at Aeon describing and defending the illusionist viewpoint, that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. It's an excellent introduction for anyone who isn't familiar with the basic argument. As noted before, I think the illusionists are right about the reality, but I’m not sure … Continue reading Keith Frankish on the consciousness illusion
Late last week, there was a clash between philosophers on Twitter over panpsychism. This was followed by Philip Goff, an outspoken proponent of panpsychism, authoring a blog post arguing that we shouldn't require evidence for it. This week, Susan Schneider did a (somewhat confused) Big Think video arguing that panpsychism isn't compatible with physics, and … Continue reading The problems with panpsychism
David Chalmers is famous as the philosopher who coined the hard problem of consciousness, the idea that how and why consciousness is produced from a physical system, how phenomenal experience arises from such a system, is an intractably difficult issue. He contrasts the hard problem with what he calls "easy problems" such as discriminating between … Continue reading David Chalmers on the meta-problem of consciousness
I came across this tweet by Amanda Gefter: https://twitter.com/AmandaGefter/status/1083749205531942913 William James, the founder of American psychology was an illusionist? I only read the opening portions of the essay, but it appears so. However, even in 1904, illusionism, the belief that consciousness isn't what it seems, was a very nuanced thing: To deny plumply that 'consciousness' … Continue reading Is consciousness a thing or a process? Yes.