Recorded 11/17/12 in the run-up to our ep. 68 interview with David Chalmers, this discussion covers the book that put him on the map: 1996's The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. The book argues for a form of property dualism in which consciousness, or more likely something like “proto-consciousness” is best conceived as a fundamental feature of the world, i.e. that whenever you have physical representation of information, then you have correlated with that what you might call a point of view from the standpoint of that information. He actually has a section entitled “What Is It Like to Be a Thermostat?” where he argues that some form of panpscyhism is at least not obviously absurd, and that the problems it introduces might be preferable to those raised by views that simply equate mind and body, or say that mind is reducible to body. In any case, this book serves as a great introduction to the philosophy of mind, and was the first recording made for the long-running Not School philosophy of mind group.
Mark Linsenmayer was joined here by Evan Gould, Alan Cook, Steve Lindsay (who did some editing on this: thanks, Steve!), Russ, and Marilyn on 11/17/12.
Not School is a way for PEL Citizens to read a text collaboratively and talk about it on exclusive online forums and/or on recordings like this one. Warning: Unlike regular PEL episodes, these recordings are largely unedited and feature participants who may be new to philosophy and are using crummy microphones. You'll get a good idea of what the reading is about, but we provide no other guarantees re. the quality of this discussion.