What does it mean to be “like something”?

Common Vampire Bat

When it comes to my philosophy of consciousness, I've noted many times that I'm a functionalist, someone who sees mental states, including conscious ones, as being more about what they do, their causal roles and relations, than what they are. Since functionalism focuses on functionality exclusively, it often gets lumped in with illusionism, which typically … Continue reading What does it mean to be “like something”?

How much can we change the causality of the brain and keep consciousness?

James of Seattle clued me in to a thought experiment described by Dr. Anna Schapiro in a Twitter thread. https://twitter.com/AnnaSchapiro/status/1512866137809195011 It's very similar to one discussed in a new preprint paper: Do action potentials cause consciousness? Like all good thought experiments, it exercises and challenges our intuitions. In this case, it forces us to contemplate … Continue reading How much can we change the causality of the brain and keep consciousness?

Can consciousness be simulated?

human cyborg

David Chalmers in his book: Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, eventually gets around to addressing the 800-pound gorilla in the room for any discussion of the simulation hypothesis. Can consciousness itself be simulated, and if so, would the resulting entity be conscious? This issue, I think, is what makes many react with far sharper … Continue reading Can consciousness be simulated?

Information, computation, and reality

David Chalmers in his book: : Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, has a discussion on information and reality. He identifies different types of information: semantic, structural, and symbolic. Semantic information is what we colloquially think of as information, it's the patterns that tell someone or something about reality. A map of a city … Continue reading Information, computation, and reality