Episode 8: Alien and Machine Minds (with Eric Schwitzgebel)
Download: MP3 Audio (71MB)
Episode Notes and Links
Could a robot or an alien have a mind even though its physical structure may contain nothing similar to a human brain? To address this, philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel once again joins Richard Brown and Pete Mandik to finish what we started in episode 4, “Death and Logic.” Here Richard defends brain-o-centrism against Eric’s “crazy-ism” (the view that something crazy has to be right about the metaphysics of consciousness) and Pete’s pro-AI, born-again functionalism (the view that minds are multiply realizable or substrate independent). Our launch points for discussion are themes from Eric’s recent essays, “If Materialism Is True, the United States is Probably Conscious” and “The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind."
(The music in the episode is by our band, Quiet Karate Reflex. The song in the intro is "SpaceTimeMind Theme Song" [link to music video] and in the outro is "Ontological Indeterminacy." More of Quiet Karate Reflex's music can be heard here: http://quietkaratereflex.bandcamp.com/.)
(The video chat between Richard, Pete, and Eric that this episode's audio is drawn from is viewable on YouTube. See especially the second half.)
- Terry Bisson - "They’re Made Out of Meat"
- Eternal Return: Modern Cosmology @Wikipedia
- The Fermi Paradox @Wait But Why
- Eric Schwitzgebel’s home page.
- Eric Schwitzgebel’s paper “The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind.”
- Eric Schwitzgebel’s paper “If Materialism Is True, the United States is Probably Conscious.”
- Eric's postscript to this episode, a response to Richard over at The Splintered Mind blog