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”?

The problem with Mary’s room

For some reason, Mary's room has been garnering attention lately.  This TED Ed video on it was shared on Aeon's site this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGYmiQkah4o The wording of the actual thought experiment is important, so quoting Frank Jackson's words (via the Wikipedia article on the knowledge argument): Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, … Continue reading The problem with Mary’s room

Do qualia exist? Depends on what we mean by “exist.”

The cognitive scientist, Hakwan Lau, whose work I've highlighted several times in the last year, has been pondering illusionism recently.  He did a Twitter survey on the relationship between the phenomenal concept strategy (PCS) and illusionism, which inspired my post on the PCS.  (Meant to mention that in the post, but it slipped.)  Anyway, he's … Continue reading Do qualia exist? Depends on what we mean by “exist.”

A possible answer to the hard problem of consciousness: subjective experience is communication

In 1995, David Chalmers coined the "hard problem of consciousness": It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have visual or auditory … Continue reading A possible answer to the hard problem of consciousness: subjective experience is communication

The illusion of phenomenal consciousness?

Philosopher Peter Hankins at Conscious Entities has a write-up on the November 12 issue of the JCS (Journal of Consciousness Studies) in which philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists such as Keith Frankish, Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore, and Michael Graziano, debate whether it makes sense to refer to phenomenal consciousness as an illusion.  Unfortunately the full text of the … Continue reading The illusion of phenomenal consciousness?

More on computer consciousness

After discussion on my post the other day on consciousness being in the eye beholder, I realized that I probably should expand a bit on my hypothesis about what we would intuitively consider to be a conscious being. We, as minds, are aware.  We have awareness from our senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.  From the … Continue reading More on computer consciousness