Tag Archives: Philosophy

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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Changing what makes us happy

from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (click through for the hovertext and red button caption) Greg Egan in his novel Incandescence posits an alien civilization whose ancestors, in order to survive, establish a series of space habitats.  In order to ensure their … Continue reading

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How do we establish causation?

Ross Pomeroy at Real Clear Science discusses five logical fallacies that often get misidentified and abused in arguments.  Identified by Steven Novella in his book The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, one of these is the old Correlation and Causation fallacy: … Continue reading

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We entered the reputation age a long time ago

Aeon is currently highlighting articles from throughout 2018 that are editor favorites.  This morning, they highlighted one by Gloria Origgi, Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now: There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a … 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

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What is knowledge?

In the discussion on the last post on measurement, the definition of knowledge came up a few times.  That’s dredged up long standing thoughts I have about knowledge, which I’ve discussed with some of you before, but that I don’t … Continue reading

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Are there things that are knowable but not measurable?

It’s a mantra for many scientists, not to mention many business managers, that if you can’t measure it, it’s not real.  On the other hand, I’ve been told by a lot of people, mostly non-scientists, and occasionally humanistic scholars including philosophers, … Continue reading

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What about subjective experience implies anything non-physical?

Mary’s room is a classic philosophical thought experiment about consciousness.  The Wikipedia article on what’s called the knowledge argument quotes Frank Jackson, the originator of the argument, as follows: Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced … Continue reading

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What do scientific theories actually tell us about the world?

One of the things that’s exciting about learning new things, is that often a new understanding in one area sheds light on what might seem like a completely separate topic.  For me, information about how the brain works appears to have shed … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , | 75 Comments