Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Dennett and the Deep Blue Sea

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Dennett and the Deep Blue Sea Burton Voorhees Journal of Consciousness Studies:  vol 7 No 3 (2000) The article attacks Dennett’s position relative to consciousness and self consciousness, as outlined in his seminal book, ‘Consciousness Explained’, and as such it constitutes an attack on the mainstream orthodoxy of consciousness studies. Vorhees is aware of the strong attachment of the mainstream to Dennett, and suggests that any weaknesses in Dennett’s theory will indicate a weakness Read more […]

Kurzweil

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Are We Spiritual Machines (1999) and The Singularity is Near (2005) Ray Kurzweil These books would not be interesting in respect of consciousness theory, if it were not that Susan Blackmore, who is prominent in consciousness studies, turned to Kurzweil to help refute Penrose’s quantum consciousness theory. This seems an odd choice, as Kurzweil was firstly an entrepreneur in the computer industry and later diversified into writing popular ‘futurist’ books. He was not a specialist Read more […]

Max Velmans: Reflexive Monism

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Max Velmans: Reflexive Monism in:-  Conversation on Consciousness This piece takes the form of an interview that Max Velmans gave to Susan Blackmore, as part of a series of interviews with prominent consciousness theorists. Velmans has developed a theory of consciousness called reflexive monism. He  starts by thinking in terms of the three dimensional space that surrounds us. He contrasts this approach to both dualism, and to standard reductionist approaches that seek to portray consciousness Read more […]

The Science of Subjectivity

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Consciousness – The Science of Subjectivity Antii Revonsuo, University of Skövde & University of Turku Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis Group) INTRODUCTION:  This book is useful in providing clear expositions and criticisms of the numerous versions of mainstream consciousness theory. Revonsuo emphasises the distinction between theories of consciousness that concentrate on subjective experience and qualia, and theories that view consciousness as related to information processing. Read more […]

Creeping up on the hard problem

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Consciousness: Creeping up on the hard problem Jeffrey Gray Oxford University Press (2004) This book is worth reading for a number of interesting areas of discussion. It attempts to use aspects of synaesthesia to refute the still dominant functionalist theory of consciousness. It argues that intentionality or meaning arises from unconscious processing, and also that there is no true representation of the external world in the brain. Because of these last two points, it is argued that much Read more […]

Gaps in Penrose’s Toiling

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Gaps in Penrose’s Toiling Rick Grush & Patricia Churchland Philosophy of Dept., University of California, San Diego Journal of Consciousness, 2, No. 1, 1995, pp. 10-29 Keywords:  mathematical truth, unknowable algorithm, quasi-crystals The core part of this article is the Grush and Churchland’s discussion of the soundness of the processes by which mathematical truth is ascertained. The authors say that for convenience they will grant Penrose’s claims that human mathematicians Read more […]

Wider than the sky

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Wider than the Sky Gerald Edelman The Brain is wider than the sky For put them side by side The one the other will contain With ease ____ and you ____ beside’   Emily Dickinson This book really falls into two halves. First there is an interesting discussion of brain function, in which Edelman attacks the popular brain/computer analogy and argues for the importance of re-entrant connections between the cortex and the thalamus, notably as a possible solution to the binding problem. The Read more […]

Fransisco Varela on consciousnss

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Fransisco Varela In:- Conservations on Consciousness Oxford University Press In terms of consciousness studies, Varela is best known for his enactive or embodied view of the nervous system and cognition. Essentially his argument is that consciousness arises through our embodiment. This needs to be a neural part in the brain but also a ‘pheno’ part in the body. His theory is beguiling but ultimately unconvincing. He says, and I agree with this part, that we need to account for the intimacy Read more […]

Facing up to consciousness

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Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness David Chalmers University of California Santa Cruz Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2, No. 3, 1995, pp. 200-19 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs Chalmers seeks to distinguish the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness from all the other problems of neuroscience, which are termed ‘easy’ problems. He lists the easy problems as, discrimination and reaction to environmental stimuli, integration of information, reporting mental Read more […]

Facing backwards on consciousness

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Facing backwards on the problem of consciousness Daniel Dennett Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3, No. 1, 1996, pp. 4-6 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs The philosopher, Daniel Dennett, has been possibly the most successful exponent of an explanation of consciousness that relies entirely on classical physics and existing neuroscience. His influence has been such that some commentators on consciousness refuse to stray beyond his ideas or the ideas very closely aligned Read more […]