I’ve just learned that philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses my view on independently conscious brain regions in his evocative 2020 book, Metazoa: Animal Life And The Birth of The Mind.Continue reading “Metazoa”
The Wada Test for Philosophers: What is it like to be a proper part of your own brain losing and regaining other proper parts of your brain?
Evidently, good answers to this question are not confined to the wilds of science fiction and thought experiment. In fact, I think there are actually people with a pretty good idea: patients of the Wada test.
These are people who have had their brain hemispheres anesthetized one at a time so that the rest of the brain—the complementary other hemisphere and the subcortical regions—remains functioning in some ways, and by all accounts conscious. Some of these patients report on their conscious experiences afterward, for example, describing what it is like to have one’s language dominant hemisphere temporarily shut down, finding oneself at a complete—albeit only temporary—loss of words. Continue reading “The Wada Test for Philosophers: What is it like to be a proper part of your own brain losing and regaining other proper parts of your brain?”
Interactionist Dualism as a Scientific Hypothesis
I’d like to show here that interactionist substance dualism (ISD) is a scientific hypothesis in the sense that typical versions of it are testable through observation. That is to say that we can describe conditions of evidence under which it would be reasonable for scientists to accept ISD. Continue reading “Interactionist Dualism as a Scientific Hypothesis”
Misunderstanding the Hard Problem of Consciousness
At interdisciplinary conferences and forums about consciousness, I’ve noticed that more than a few scientists seem to seriously misunderstand the Hard Problem of Consciousness (HPC). In fact, I’ve begun to wonder whether misunderstanding the HPC is closer to the norm among scientists interested in consciousness. Continue reading “Misunderstanding the Hard Problem of Consciousness”
Frank Rosenblatt was pioneering neural networks and connectionist machine learning in the 1950s with the Mark I Perceptron. While the term perceptron now refers primarily to a learning algorithm, Rosenblatt’s perceptron was the physical machine that executed it.
In a 1958 New York Times article (below), Rosenblatt conveys an ambitious (prescient?) vision of the future of machine learning. The article refers to Rosenblatt’s perceptron as “the embryo of an electronic computer that [the Navy] expects will be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself and be conscious of its existence.” Continue reading “Rosenblatt’s Perceptron”