I often say that consciousness lies in the eye of the beholder, a notion that many dislike and often push back against. To be clear, I do think that for any precise definition of "consciousness", there is a fact of the matter about whether it exists and what has it. Many respond by offering up … Continue reading Hierarchy of consciousness, January 2021 edition
Recently, there was a debate on Twitter between neuroscientists Hakwan Lau and Victor Lamme, both of whose work I've highlighted here before. Lau is a proponent of higher order theories of consciousness, and Lamme of local recurrent processing theory. The debate began when Lau made a statement about panpsychism, the idea that everything is conscious … Continue reading The issues with biopsychism
A couple of years ago, when writing about panpsychism, I introduced a five layer conception of consciousness. The idea back then was to show a couple of things. One was that very simple conceptions of consciousness, such as interactions with the environment, were missing a lot of capabilities that we intuitively think of as belonging … Continue reading Layers of consciousness, September 2019 edition
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
Ever since sharing Ned Block's talk on it, phenomenal consciousness has been on my mind. This week, I decided I needed to go back to the main spokesperson for the issue of subjective experience, David Chalmers, and his seminal paper Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness. I have to admit I've skimmed this paper … Continue reading Chalmers’ theory of consciousness
I learned something new this week about the online magazine The Conversation. A number of their articles that are shared around don't show up in their RSS feeds or site navigation. It appears these articles only come up in searches, although it's possible they show in in the site's email newsletter, which I'm not subscribed … Continue reading What is it about phenomenal consciousness that’s so mysterious?
I've written before about panpyschism, the outlook that everything is conscious and that consciousness permeates the universe. However, that previous post was within the context of replying to a TEDx talk, and I'm not entirely satisfied with the remarks I made back then, so this is a revisit of that topic. I've noted many times … Continue reading Panpsychism and layers of consciousness
Consider a rock outside somewhere. It sits there, starting off in the morning in a certain state. The sun comes out and proceeds to warm it up. Its temperature climbs through the day until the sun sets, whereupon it cools through the night. The cycle starts again the next morning. The rock is going through … Continue reading Are rocks conscious?
Disagreeable Me asked me to look at this interesting TED talk by Professor Mark Bishop. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUNHyPFvUWc The entire talk is well worth the time (20 minutes) for anyone interested in consciousness and the computational theory of mind, but here's my very quick summation: The human mind, and hence consciousness, is a computational system. Since animal … Continue reading Panpsychism and definitions of “consciousness”