Tag Archives: Mind

The brain is a computer, but what is a computer?

Kevin Lande has an article up at Aeon which is one of the best discussions of the brain as a computational system that I’ve seen in a while.  For an idea of the spirit of the piece: The claim that … Continue reading

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Malcolm MacIver on imagination and consciousness

Sean Carroll’s latest episode of his podcast, Mindscape, features an interview with neuroscientist Malcom MacIver, one that is well worth checking out for anyone interested in consciousness. Consciousness has many aspects, from experience to wakefulness to self-awareness. One aspect is … Continue reading

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A neuroscience showdown on consciousness?

Apparently the Templeton Foundation is interested in seeing progress on consciousness science, and so is contemplating funding studies to test various theories.  The stated idea is to at least winnow the field through “structured adversarial collaborations”.  The first two theories … Continue reading

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Why we’ll know AI is conscious before it will

At Nautilus, Joel Frohlich posits how we’ll know when an AI is conscious.  He starts off by accepting David Chalmers’ concept of a philosophical zombie, but then makes this statement. But I have a slight problem with Chalmers’ zombies. Zombies are … Continue reading

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The sensorium, the motorium, and the planner

I’ve been reading Gerhard Roth’s The Long Evolution of Brains and Minds. This a technical and, unfortunately, expensive book, not one aimed at general audiences, but it has a lot of interesting concepts.  A couple that Roth mentions are the … Continue reading

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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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