Harris: The Mystery of Consciousness

From Sam Harris, an overview of ideas about consciousness. Even if I happen to be a brain in a vat at this moment—all my memories are false; all my perceptions are of a world that does not exist—the fact that I am having an experience is indisputable (to me, at least).  This is all that is […]

A Buddhist Perspective On Free Will

B. Alan Wallace offers his take on the subject of Free Will (PDF). He articulates a critical point about the age-old argument that I had been planing to make: Normally when free will is posited somebody must have it, right? What Buddha found was a complete lack of evidence of any autonomous self that exists […]

Sam Harris on Morality Without “Free Will”

An excellent argument. In fact, the concept of free will is a non-starter, both philosophically and scientifically. There is simply no description of mental and physical causation that allows for this freedom that we habitually claim for ourselves and ascribe to others. Understanding this would alter our view of morality in some respects, but it […]

Ads Implant False Memories

From The Frontal Cortex in Wired: It turns out that vivid commercials are incredibly good at tricking the hippocampus (a center of long-term memory in the brain) into believing that the scene we just watched on television actually happened. And it happened to us.

No Such Thing as a Self

Philosopher Thomas Metzinger at TEDx Rhein-Main Today I want to show you why it is literally true that there is no such thing as a self. The self is not a thing, but a process. It is a very interesting and fascinating process. It is that special process that gives you the conscious experience of […]

Make up your own mind

Information is Beautiful asks the question What is Consciousness? The options are presented as clever Flash animations representing 12 philosophical answers.

Buddhism and Neuroscience

Buddhism and The Brain, Seed Magazine: Neuroscience tells us the thing we take as our unified mind is an illusion, that our mind is not unified and can barely be said to “exist” at all. Our feeling of unity and control is a post-hoc confabulation and is easily fractured into separate parts. As revealed by scientific […]

Searle vs. Kurzweil on A.I.

On Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines: “I cannot recall reading a book in which there is such a huge gulf between the spectacular claims advanced and the weakness of the arguments given in their support.” — John Searle In 1999, Mr. Searle wrote this review for the New York Review of Books. Much of […]

John Searle’s Nature of Mind course

Searle, who has taught at Berkeley for over 50 years, allowed his Philosophy 132 course to be recorded in the spring of 2010. It is available as a free podcast through the Berkeley website and through iTunes. Mr. Searle is most famous for his Chinese Room thought experiment, which argues against the idea of true artificial […]

Google Tech Talk: quantum existence

Ron Garret gave a fascinating Google Tech Talk: “The Quantum Conspiracy: What Popularizers of QM Don’t Want You to Know.” From the abstract: It turns out that there is a simple intuition that makes almost all quantum mysteries simply evaporate, and replaces them with an easily understood (albeit strange) insight: measurement and entanglement are the […]