We have group proposals for October on the table, including Zizek’s Contingency, Hegemony and Universality, Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History, and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The Fiction group will be reading The Call of Cthulhu.
We’ll talk about what Freud thinks dreams are for. Citizens can listen now, and the public episode will be released on two parts starting Monday.
On Sigmund Freud’s On Dreams (1902), a bit of The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), and the lecture, “Revision of the Theory of Dreams” (1933).
Are dreams just a bunch of random crap? Freud says, no, they’re actually the first and best way to figure out the structure of the mind, which (surprise) involves the unconscious and how repressed, anti-social desires get (sort of) revealed to us, albeit smashed together through chains of association with what seems like random crap. How can Freud support such a view? Is it science? What are its implications for our capacity to philosophize?
End song: “Sleep” by Mark Lint.
Having the opportunity to speak with Nicholas Humphrey was a phenomenal experience (pun intended). His accounts of discussing dreams with Francis Crick, debating the best materialist arguments with Dan Dennett, working on blindsight, describing how personhood and ethics arise out of consciousness, and positing that our minds act as artists to make us fall in love with ourselves, make for a wonderful and enlightening listen.
Consciousness, Nicholas Humphrey claims, does not add or enhance some survival ability (as, say, wings allow birds to fly). Consciousness improves the chance of survival because it makes life worth living. Being phenomenally conscious grants import, meaning, and ego, essentially fooling us into striving towards fulfillment.
On Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and Strategies (2014) with the author. What can we predict about, and how can we control in advance, the motivations of the entity likely to result from eventual advances in machine learning? Also with guest Luke Muehlhauser.
On Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and Strategies (2014) with the author. What can we predict about, and how can we control in advance, the motivations of the entity likely to result from eventual advances in machine learning? Also with guest Luke Muehlhauser. Learn more.
End song: “Volcano,” by Mark Linsenmayer, recorded in 1992 and released on the album Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses.
We interviewed Nick Bostrom on his book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. How can philosophers stop robots from killing us all?
When the Partially Examined Life discussion of human enhancement (Episode 91) turned to the topic of digital technology, the philosophical oxygen was sucked out of the room. Sure, folks conceded that philosopher of mind Andy Clark (not mentioned by name, but implicitly referenced) has interesting things to say about how technology upgrades our cognitive abilities and extends the boundaries of Continue Reading …
Featuring Evan Gould, Steve Lindsay, and Michael Burgess. About “embodied cognition,” which rejects the folk understanding of rationality as disembodied. Recorded 8/2/13.
From our Lacan episode and my comparison of Lacan with Sartre, you might think that this “no self” deal was just a Continental idea. If you remember back to our Owen Flanagan interview, however, you’ll know that (besides this being a doctrine in Buddhsim) this is also one of the main positions within the analytic philosophy of mind, due perhaps Continue Reading …
Excerpts of discussions about Deleuze & Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, an article on emergence called “More Is Different” by Nobel Prize Winning physicist P.W. Anderson, John Searle’s Mind: A Brief Introduction, and Italo Calvino’s trippy science fantasy novel Cosmicomics.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s a guest post from Evan Gould, who was good enough to record the second discussion of the Not School Philosophy of Mind group for your pleasure. Go sign up to be a PEL Citizen so you can listen to the discussion now.] Within roughly the first half of his 2004 book Mind: A Brief Introduction, John Searle Continue Reading …
Continuing on 1/17/13 the discussion begun in part 1, by which time the group had read the whole book.
Featuring Evan Gould, Bill Burgess, Alan Cook, Steven Lindsay, Daniel Cole. Recorded 1/2/13. On biological naturalism, which sees mind as a sort of “surface feature” which manifests itself in the brain only macroscopically, though its existence and activity are completely causally explained by neurobiological activity.
On The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (1997). Featuring Mark Linsenmayer, Alan Cook, Evan Gould, Russ Baker, Steve Lindsay, and Marilyn Lawrence. Recorded 11/17/12.
He 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.
Watch on Vimeo In the video above, Prof. David Papineau compares different “naturalist” theories of consciousness to propose that phenomenal concepts pose a problem for Wittgenstein’s private language argument. (A version of this issue was briefly raised during the second episode discussing Philosophical Investigations.) Hint: If you’re not yet familar with the “Mary’s Room” thought experiment, it would be helpful to Continue Reading …
Neuroscientists are using anesthesia to study consciousness in a way that seems related to higher order theories of consciousness. The conclusion so far: “consciousness emerges from the integration of information across large networks in the brain”: Over the past few years, other EEG studies have supported the idea that anesthesia doesn’t simply shut the brain down but, rather, interferes with its Continue Reading …
This fascinating New York Times Magazine articles tells the story of conjoined twins Krista and Tatiana, who share part of their brains; specifically, there is a bridge of neural tissue joining their thalami. The thalamus is something like a switchboard for routing sensory information. While the twins have two distinct minds and personalities, each can see and feel the other’s Continue Reading …