Tag Archives: Philosophy of Mind

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

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , | 91 Comments

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

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments

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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On imagination, feelings, and brain regions

The last post on feelings generated some excellent conversations.  In a couple of them, it was pointed out that my description of feelings put a lot of work on the concept of imagination, and that maybe I should expand on … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , | 62 Comments

The construction of feelings

I’ve had a number of conversations lately on the subject of feelings, the affective states of having valences about conscious perception, such as fear, pain, joy, hunger, etc.  Apparently a lot of people view feelings as a very mysterious phenomenon.  … Continue reading

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Inflate and explode, or deflate and preserve?

Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel has an interesting post up criticizing the arguments of illusionists, those who have concluded that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. Here’s a way to deny the existence of things of Type X. Assume that things of Type … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , | 93 Comments

The prospects for a scientific understanding of consciousness

Michael Shermer has an article up at Scientific American asking if science will ever understand consciousness, free will, or God. I contend that not only consciousness but also free will and God are mysterian problems—not because we are not yet … Continue reading

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Does information require conscious interpretation to be information?

Peter Kassan has an article at Skeptic Magazine which sets out to disprove the simulation hypothesis, the idea that we’re all living in a computer simulation. I personally find arguing about the simulation hypothesis unproductive.  Short of the simulation owner … Continue reading

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Layers of self awareness and animal cognition

In the last consciousness post, which discussed issues with panpsychism and simple definitions of consciousness, I laid out five functional layers of cognition which I find helpful when trying to think about systems that are more or less conscious.  Just … Continue reading

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Panpsychism and layers of consciousness

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 80 Comments