Tag Archives: Mind

Did smell lead to consciousness?

Smell has apparently always been a peculiar sense.  The sensory pathway of smell information to the brain runs completely independent from the other senses.  The pathways for the other senses run through the midbrain and thalamus and are then relayed … Continue reading

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When does personhood begin?

Gary Whittenberger has an article at Skeptic on discussing personhood and abortion: The pro-person position, as I have outlined it in this essay, recognizes the late fetus and the host woman both as persons with human rights. When these rights … Continue reading

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Is the brainstem conscious?

(Warning: neuroscience weeds and references to gruesome animal research.) The vast majority of neuroscientists see consciousness as a cortical phenomenon.  It may be crucially dependent on sub-cortical and sub-cerebral structures, but subjective experience itself exists mainly or entirely in the … Continue reading

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Strong vs weak emergence

The Neuroskeptic has an interesting post on a paper challenging theories of mind based on strong emergence. A new paper offers a broad challenge to a certain kind of ‘grand theory’ about the brain. According to the authors, Federico E. Turkheimer … Continue reading

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Consciousness lies in the eye of the beholder

There are few things that everyone who ponders consciousness can agree on.  It’s a topic where debates on the very definition of the subject are common.  The only definitions that seem to command near universal assent are the ones oriented … Continue reading

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Is it time to retire the term “artificial intelligence”?

Eric Siegel at Big Think, in a new “Dr. Data Show” on the site, explains Why A.I. is a big fat lie: 1) Unlike AI, machine learning’s totally legit. I gotta say, it wins the Awesomest Technology Ever award, forging advancements … Continue reading

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The implications of embodied cognition

Sean Carroll on his podcast interviewed Lisa Aziz-Zadeh on embodied cognition: Brains are important things; they’re where thinking happens. Or are they? The theory of “embodied cognition” posits that it’s better to think of thinking as something that takes place … Continue reading

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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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