Hey, you know what? MindChunk, that's what. The latest edition to our MindChunk video series launches a sneak attack on the nature of time by way of a thought experiment about artificial intelligence and a simulation of Einstein's brain. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Check out “Consciousness as an M-Property” by Richard Brown over at his blog, Philosophy Sucks. His post ties in with the SpaceTimeMind podcast Episode 7: "The Illusion of Free Will (with Gregg Caruso").
Now a major motion picture. (This film has not yet been rated.)
What topics would you like to see tackled? What depths plumbed? What guests would you like subjected to our special brand of norn torture? Is there something you'd like to see or hear more of? Less of? Please utilize the SpaceTimeMind RequestBucket by leaving a comment below.
Download: MP3 Audio (96MB)
Episode Notes and Links
Neuroscience and philosophy meet in the arena of consciousness when neuroscientist guest Bernard Baars joins philosopher hosts Richard Brown and Pete Mandik on the SpaceTimeMind podcast. Topics we tackle include (1) the interface between science and philosophy, (2) the Global Workspace Theory of Consciousness, (3) the relevance of quantum mechanics for phenomenal consciousness, (4) the possibility of machine consciousness, and (5) Ned Block’s thesis that perceptual consciousness overflows cognitive access. And that's just for starters! We’ve saved you a seat in the theater of consciousness, so pop open an ice cold can of qualia and enjoy the show.
(The video chat that this episode's audio is drawn from is viewable on YouTube.)
- Bernard Baars' academia.edu page
- A Conscious Brain - Bernard Baars’ blog
- "Debunking the Quantum Mind" @ the SpaceTimeMind blog
- Ned Block - “Perceptual Consciousness Overflows Cognitive Access"
- Richard Brown - “The Myth of Phenomenological Overflow”
In our upcoming episode with neuroscientist Bernard Baars (episode 10, out on Aug 1), we discuss the relevance, or lack thereof, of quantum mechanics to explaining consciousness. Here’s a small roundup of debunking articles on the topic, including Baars’ own piece, co-authored with David Edelman.
- Litt, A., Eliasmith, C., Kroon, F. W., Weinstein, S., & Thagard, P. (2006). Is the brain a quantum computer? Cognitive Science, 30, 593–603.
- Grush, Rick, and Patricia Chuchland (1995). Gaps in Penrose's Toilings Journal of Consciousness Studies. 2(1):10 - 29.
- Baars B, & Edelman D. Consciousness, biology and quantum hypotheses. Phys Life Rev. 2012 Sep;9(3):285-94. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 10.
BONUS: Here’s a recent article presenting a sympathetic treatment of the pro side: Quentin Ruyant’s "Is quantum mechanics relevant to the philosophy of mind (and the other way around)?" at Scientia Salon.
We're only a few days away from episode 10, which is all about consciousness with guest neuroscientist Bernard Baars. To help you get ultra stoked, here are some helpful study materials:
Episode 2: Consciousness explained (?) part 1: Computational Pythagoreanism
Episode 3: Consciousness explained (?) part 2: The nature of explanation
MindChunk: Consciousness and Biology
EXTRA CREDIT: Read this webcomic.
Download: MP3 Audio (64MB)
Episode Notes and Links
This is the first of several episodes of the SpaceTimeMind podcast wherein amateur chrononauts Richard Brown and Pete Mandik tackle topics in the physics and metaphysics of time. In this episode, one of the main ideas we kick around is whether any moments exist beyond the present moment. Additionally, we tackle the issue of whether it makes any more sense to say that time flows than it does to say that space moves. If time flows at some rate, must there exist a hypertime relative to which first-order time changes? And is the ensuing infinite regress an intolerable ontic horror? Finally, we discuss the relationship between the phenomenology of time experience and the metaphysics of time by exploring whether a computer simulation of a brain would notice being run backwards in time. WARNING: Under no circumstances should you attempt to listen to any part of this episode backwards.
(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 middle break and outro is "Time Consciousness." More of Quiet Karate Reflex's music can be heard here: http://quietkaratereflex.bandcamp.com/.)
(The video chat between Richard and Pete that this episode's audio is drawn from is viewable on YouTube. See especially the first half.)
- New Books in Philosophy podcast - http://newbooksinphilosophy.com/
- Ted Sider - "Smart's B-theory" course handout on the hypertime argument against presentism
- Dean Zimmerman -"Presentism and the Space-Time Manifold" The Oxford Handbook of Time
- Brit Brogaard - “Presentist Four-Dimensionalism.” The Monist 83 (2000), 341-356.
- Greg Egan - Permutation City excerpt “Rip, tie, cut toy man”
- Pete Mandik - "Slow Earth and the Slow-switching Slowdown Showdown"
- "A Time Travel Website" - http://timetravelphilosophy.net/
- Christopher Menzel - "Actualism" @Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Don A. Howard -"Einstein's Philosophy of Science" @Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Tomorrow we release SpaceTimeMind podcast episode 9, one of several planned episodes on the physics and metaphysics of time. In order to whip your hungry brains into an anticipatory froth, be sure to check out the following classic song-and-dance productions covering such topics as change and temporal becoming, perdurantism vs. endurantism, and McTaggart's paradox. Apologies ahead of time (ha!) for any earworms you may catch from the delightful songs contained below.
First, check out the under appreciated and overlooked extravaganza, "The Tense View of Time and You, Parts 1 and 2," a 2006 musical comedy posted by YouTube user, dapootieman. How this has fewer views than Gangam Style is an eternal mystery.
Second, check out the second installment of the absolutely bonkers show for "kids", Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, informatively entitled "TIME."
In our discussion with sci fi author Roger Williams, we spend a bunch of time on the topic of Hannibal Lecter (jump to the 1:24:51 mark here). There's a new post up at the Passages In the Void blog where Roger provides an overview of the Hannibal TV series. Check it out, fannibals. (Spoiler-alert alert: Those of you who hate spoiler alerts should be alerted to the presence of such alerts in Roger's post.)
And don't miss Roger's older (pre-reboot) essay, "Hannibal Lecter as Transhumanist Icon."
Just how tightly do biological facts constrain facts about consciousness? Are radically alien or machine minds possible? Or is a mind without a brain like a square without corners? We tackle these questions in this latest installment of the MindChunks video series. This is excerpted from the discussion Richard Brown and Pete Mandik had with Eric Schwitzgebel. For the rest, be sure to check out Episode 8: Alien and Machine Minds.
"What's expected of us," by Ted Chiang is a super short and really great piece of sci fi published in Nature that taps into themes we cover in Episode 7: The Illusion of Free Will (with Gregg Caruso) and will explore further in several upcoming episodes on time (see also our two video discussions on time to date, "What is time?" and "Brit Brogaard on the Metaphysics of Time and the Neurophilosophy of Consciousness").
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
We're getting pretty stoked here at SpaceTimeMind central, as we're just a few days away from our next episode, Episode 8: Alien and Machine Minds (with Eric Schwitzgebel). Eric is our first return guest, and the discussion in episode 8 picks up where things left off with Eric in Episode 4: Death and Logic. Things got pretty rowdy in the virtual studio - stormy even - while we were talking about massive lightning strikes creating swamp people and even entire swamp galaxies. See for yourself in this amazing video:
In horror movies, a zombie fight happens when two of the flesh-eating undead confuse each other for prey and, despite tearing each other apart, they both go to bed hungry. In philosophy, a zombie fight is exactly the same. In the latest installment of the MindChunk series, watch as Richard Brown and Pete Mandik use all their best zombie moves on one another, while neuroscientist Joe LeDoux kicks back and surveys the carnage.
The declaration of the death of philosophy du jour comes from Peter Unger in his recent book, Empty Ideas: A Critique of Analytic Philosophy. Glimpse his main ideas in this 3 Quarks Daily interview of Unger. Evident throughout is a pervasive scientism. Apropos of all this, see below the recent MindChunk from Richard and Pete, "Scientist or Philosopher?" (For the longer discussion from which this MindChunk originates, see our video "Scientism.")
Download: MP3 Audio (88MB)
Episode Notes and Links
You have only three options: One, you listen to this episode of your own free will. Two, you listen to this episode as a matter of pure chance, with neither cause nor reason. Three, you were predetermined since the big bang to listen to this episode. One way or another, you're going to hear philosopher Gregg Caruso join Pete Mandik as they gang up on Richard Brown, who intermittently operates under the illusion that he has libertarian free will.
(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], the song in the mid-episode break is "Joints of Nature," 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 Gregg that this episode's audio is drawn from is viewable on YouTube.)
- Gregg D. Caruso - http://www.greggcaruso.com/
- Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will
- Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility
- Science and Religion: 5 Questions
- Mandik, Pete. (2010). Control Consciousness. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2 (4), 643-657. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1756-8765.2010.01084.x
- Arvan, Marcus. A New Theory of Free Will. Philosophical Forum 44 (1):1-48 (2013)
- Wikipedia entry on Quantum Teleportation -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_teleportation
- Brown, Richard. "Kantian Compatibilism?" post at the Philosophy Sucks! blog.