Presentation on theme: "What is it like to be me? Trying to understand consciousness."— Presentation transcript:
What is it like to be me? Trying to understand consciousness.
Socrates “…and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.” Plato, Phaedrus
Socrates “This man, on one hand, believes that he knows something, while not knowing [anything]. On the other hand, I – equally ignorant – do not believe [that I know anything].” Plato, Apology
Descartes But I have convinced myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world, no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Does it now follow that I, too, do not exist? No. If I convinced myself of something [or thought anything at all], then I certainly existed… after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind. ( Meditations II)
Descartes “I attentively examined what I was, and as I observed that I could suppose that I had no body, and that there was no world or any plaice in which I might be; but that I could not therefore suppose that I was not; and that, on the contrary, from the very circumstances that I thought to doubt the truth of other things, it must clearly and certainly follow that I was…
Descartes …I thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that it may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing; so that “I,” that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am, is wholly distinct from the body, and is even more easily known that the latter.” (Discourse of Method, Part IV)
Descartes’ argument for Dualism. I can doubt that my body exists I cannot doubt that I myself do not exist. Therefore, I myself am totally distinct from my body.
Descartes’ Dualism Human Mental stuff Material Stuff
Materialism Everything in the world, including our minds, is made up on matter. That is material physical stuff (energy, mass etc.) Material Stuff
Avicenna’s Flying Man Imagine you were created in a perfect state but suspended in mid air, isolated from all sensation (blindfolded, ear’s plugged, not able to smell or taste). Would you be able to affirm the existence of your self?
Thomas Nagel Imagine: What is it like to be a bat?
What is consciousness? Reductionist An intrinsic part of some thinking, perceiving, and feeling being Consciousness is nothing more than our processes or ability. ‘An Extra-Ingredient’
The Possibility of Zombies Philosophical Zombies
Are Philosophical Zombies possible? No: Reductionism Yes: Non- Reductionist
Consciousness and Progress Have we made progress in understanding consciousness? What more is there left to understand? Is progress possible? What restricts progress in this field? Science or philosophy: which has the most to say about consciousness?
Areas of Knowledge Neuroscience Neural Correlates of consciousness Neuroscience Neural Correlates of consciousness Maths Natural Science Ethics Human Science Areas History The Arts Computing Alan Turing Computing Alan Turing Psychology Philosophy of Mind Psychology Philosophy of Mind History of thought Surrealism Conscious machines A special value of human life Conscious machines A special value of human life
Ways of Knowing Problems of definition. Linguistics Are we too emotionally attached to our own consciousness? Can we observe the contents our consciousness? Logic Philosophy ReasonPerception LanguageEmotion
ReflexiveIndividuality Knowing about the knower ‘Know Thyself’ Objective explanation My knowledge – My ideas? Knower(s)