Archive for the ‘Philosophy and consciousness’ Category

Quantum entanglement

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The argument about entanglement goes back to Einstein. The notorious EPR (Einstein/Podolsky/Rosen) thought experiment of 1935 demonstrated that if quantum mechanics was correct then the determination of the state of one quantum particle could instantaneously and over any distance determine the state of another particle. This was afterwards referred to as entanglement or quantum entanglement.

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Consciousness as a meta-phenomenon

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The year is 1954.

Alan Turing, is returning home from work at the University of Manchester where he is using the recently installed Ferranti Mark 1 computer to further his researches on morphogenesis and other matters. This behemoth of a machine with 4,000 valves, 2,500 capacitors, 15,000 resistors, 100,000 soldered joints and 6 miles of wire boasts a huge 5120 bit random access CRT memory, 72kbytes of magnetic drum storage and can carry out over 800 additions every second; but for Turing this is not nearly enough. He dreams of the day when a computer can play chess as well as he can and can even fool us into thinking that it might be conscious. After all, isn’t the human brain just a computer with nerves instead of valves?

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Reality, perception, physics

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Thoughts on Reality An insubstantial pageant The one thing we can be reasonably sure of is that what we see has nothing to do with reality. Physics tells us as much as that; that there are no things and there is no colour green. Visual information is delivered to the retina by photons fluctuating at varying frequencies. The photons are either reflected from or produced by ‘objects’, which can in their turn be understood as quantum particles held together by the charges of the electromagnetic Read more […]

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Chalmers on consciousness

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Chalmers asks why it is that we are conscious, and argues that a radical idea is required if we are to arrive at an explanation. Recent research has concentrated on searching for correlates of consciousness, such as brain regions that are active when consciousness is reported. However, such correlates are just things that coincide with consciousness rather than explanations. Emergence has also been seen as an explanation of consciousness, in the sense that hurricanes emerge from particular weather systems, and by analogy, consciousness emerges from neural systems and possibly also computer systems. However, Chalmers sees this as only explaining structure and behaviour rather than consciousness as such.

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Patricia Churchland and Neuroscience

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At peace with my brain  Patricia Churchland interviewed by Graham Lawton  ::  New Scientist, 30 November 2013  ::  www.newscientist.com Summary and review of the above interview In this interview, it is apparent that the philosopher, Patricia Churchland, has moved on to occupy the neuroscience territory. As part of the group of 1990s thinkers that directed consciousness towards what some might argue to be its present cul-de-sac, in which sensible people are inhibited about discussing any Read more […]

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Ex Machina and consciousness

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The recent science fiction film, Ex Machina, about the invention of a conscious android takes us straight to the heart of the nature of consciousness. The android, named Ava, has a clear choice, preference and desire to be free from the underground chamber in which she is confined, and also to be free from the direction of her inventor. The inventor, Nathan, asks the other main character, Caleb, to go beyond the Turing test. This is good advice as the Turing test was an annoying distraction Read more […]

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Explanatory gap

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The Computational Explanatory Gap James Reggia, Derek Monner & Jared Sylvester :: Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21, No. 9&10, 2014, pp. 153-78 :: www.imprint.co.uk/jcs.html Summary and review of the above paper INTRODUCTION: The durability of the explanatory gap between neural processing and consciousness is seen as surprising given the successes of neuroscience in recent decades. Models of cognitive processing still require external direction, which is exactly what the conscious Read more […]

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Donald Hoffman’s Consciousness Theory

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In this conference Donald Hoffman discussed why qualia are more relevant than Dennett had tried to argue in the 1990s. Another highlight was the exchange between Hameroff and Tegmark, where Tegmark took a surprisingly casual view of his much vaunted 2000 Paper.

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Alfred North Whitehead

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Whitehead places events rather than bits of matter at the centre of scientific enquiry. Qualia of subjective experiences are abstractions of the character of these events, while space and time are abstractions of the relations between events. The distinctions between both mind and matter and subject and object are abolished in dealing with subjective experience.

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The Conscious Brain

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Author: Jesse J. Prinz, Published by Oxford University Press (2012) Summary and review of the above book INTRODUCTION: Prinz argues that a theory of consciousness requires a process, and also a location in the brain for that process to take effect. The direction of attention is seen as necessary and sufficient for consciousness to arise. The location is argued to be the secondary or intermediate cortex. Consciousness generated in this area is then used by the working memory for deliberative processing; Read more […]

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