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Questions tagged [consciousness]

Consciousness, and related notions like sentience and self-awareness, denote the capacity of certain organisms to express recognition of their own presence in the world.

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Does anyone assert the real existence of p-zombies?

Philosophical zombies are usually presented as, let say, "conceivable" and then this assertion is used to infer dualism. Have any philosophers taken the position that p-zombies are in fact real, and, ...
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Which signs indicate consciousness in other beings?

There are arguments confirming and denying that animals have consciousness. Some arguments say that not even all humans have consciousness, e.g. small babies. Which observable signs do exist that ...
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Can we tell whether human groups or societies are behaving as superorganisms?

An anthill can be described as a superorganism, with behaviours and interactions much more complex than those of an individual ant. We could find analogies between the superorganism and other living ...
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Is the person in the mirror an example of a philosophical zombie?

Consider the following situation: You are in a room that has a mirror as one of its walls. You assert/commit to that you are conscious and have qualia. You look at the mirror, and you observe your ...
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What happens when a conscious, intelligent being interprets a deterministic model?

Sorry, I’m new here, and I’ve truly no experience with philosophy. However, I’ve had this problem that I’ve been thinking about for awhile concerning a deterministic model for the universe. Consider ...
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Is God subject to logic?

If someone claims that God is beyond logic then how do we know he is beyond logic ? (as we lose all the methods to know whether the claim is true or not?) Logic is the use and study of valid reasoning,...
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Does consciousness depend on our five senses?

Does consciousness depend on our five senses? If we never have senses, would we have consciousness? It seems that if we lose our senses, we would maintain our consciousness. But if we never had senses ...
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How can a stream of thoughts and perceptions have freewill?

William James believed that there was no central entity or ego that embodied the "I" in "I feel" or "I think". That the continuous stream of thoughts and sensations generated the illusion of their ...
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Why am I this particular human being?

Some philosophers dismiss this as a question about a tautology: when Alice asks "Why am I Alice?", this is equivalent to her asking "Why is Alice Alice?", which is not an interesting question. But ...
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If zombies are possible would that imply that physicalism is false?

The SEP article on Zombies writes: Zombies in philosophy are imaginary creatures used to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. Unlike those in films or ...
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What are the differences between sentience, consciousness and awareness?

Dictionary definitions such as this one often seem to use the terms sentience, awareness, and consciousness as if they are synonymous with each other. Is this really the case? If not, how do they ...
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How do materialists respond to the thought experiment of the perception of blue and red colors being swapped?

By materialism, I mean the belief that the totality of all in existence is material. That is, particles/waves/energy in the space-time fabric. If one were to construct a thought experiment that ...
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How should we understand the teletransportation thought experiment?

Please read the short story here:Beam me up First, I'd like to to know whether there is anything inherently inconsistent about this teletransportation idea? Is there fundamental reasons which say it'...
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Can conjoined twins share a mind?

A unique recent case of conjoined twins having a neural bridge connecting their brains raises some philosophical questions concerning mind sharing and the mind-body problem. From the article by ...
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At what point can a being be said to have gained sentience?

It's pretty much universally accepted that healthy humans have sentience, but that's where the agreement stops. Many would say that complex animals have sentience, such as dogs, cats, cows, sheep, ...
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If I upload my brain into a computer is it still me?

I think the answer is yes but I know a lot of people disagree. So, I would like to ask these people when exactly does it stop being me. Let's say I want to upload my brain into a computer using the ...
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How can consciousness be an illusion?

Regarding this New Scientist article: Metaphysics special: What is consciousness? It contains this strapline: “You may know beyond a doubt that you exist, but your ‘I’ could still be an illusion“. (...
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What came first, language or consciousness?

What came first, language or consciousness? Has any philosopher said that language gives us consciousness by allowing us to communicate with ourselves and therefore giving us choices that we did ...
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Is there a way to prove if something is self-aware?

Is there a way to prove if something is self-aware or has the quality of consciousness? Can I even prove that I am self-aware to myself? Would consciousness be like a faith or belief, in that I can ...
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Has Hofstadter's concept of strange loop been given a more formal treatment (by him or anyone else) than “GEB” and “I am a strange loop”?

I find Hofstadter's concept of strange loop and how it explains consciousness to be very compelling. However I find the writing style in "Goedel Escher and Bach" to be too distracting and "I am a ...
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Was there support for panpsychism among the Romantic poets?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and vocal critic of religion, is a supporter of panpsychism, the doctrine that consciousness arises because every inanimate particle actually ...
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Why does Chalmers' argument about “the hard problem” not entail idealism?

Chalmers famously argues in Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness: At the end of the day, the same criticism applies to any purely physical account of consciousness. For any physical process we ...
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Shouldn't philosophy be replaced by neuroscience? [closed]

George Johnson (In the Palaces of Memory: How We Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads, 1991) expressed it best: "As neuroscience comes closer to explaining more about the brain and mind, some scientists, ...
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Is There a Paradox of Self-Observation?

Many philosophies and religions teach self-observation. For instance... The Oracle at Delphi told Socrates to "Know Thyself". Yoga teaches people to discover their true selves. On the surface, self-...
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How would Kant have responded to Darwin's conception of human evolution?

How would Kant have responded to Darwin? That is, how would Kant's theory on the individual as being comprised of a unity of consciousness (in his critique on pure reason), with the theory of Darwin's ...
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What are book recommendations on Philosophy of Consciousness by contemporary authors?

I am looking for a book that is more focused on the philosophy of consciousness(rather than general topic of Phil. of Mind) which takes up the hard problem as a major theme. Can you guys give me ...
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What does 'consciousness' indicate in the context of the anthropic principle?

The anthropic principle postulates that our universe is selected for the presence of consciousness in it. I cite Wikipedia: the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations ...
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How does human intelligence differ from Searle's chinese room?

The Chinese Room argument attempts to prove that a computer, no matter how powerful, cannot achieve consciousness. Brief summary: Imagine a native English speaker who knows no Chinese locked in a ...
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Would it be immoral to enslave your own simulated mind?

The following story has been envisioned in White Christmas episode (part II) of Black Mirror television series (see the short clip): Matt greets the confused and terrified "Greta cookie" ...
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How did Kant “undermine the soul”?

In the beginning of William James' 1904 paper "Does 'Consciousness' Exist?" he states the following: At first, 'spirit and matter,' 'soul and body,' stood for a pair of equipollent substances quite ...
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Does having free will presuppose consciousness, can philosophical zombies have it?

Philosophical zombies may lack a consciousness, but does this preclude the ability to have a free will? Why does consciousness matter, for agency, or at all, if determinism is real? (I've framed the ...
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If we assume The Turing Test to be the criterion for moral personhood, would simulated minds pose a problem for existing moral systems?

In an answer to this question I made the rather bold speculation that if the Turing Test is taken to be our defining criterion of a consciousness of human level, then all questions in the ethics of ...
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Can human consciousness be “felt” without complex emotions?

Can human consciousness be "felt" without complex emotions such as love, sorrow, anger, empathy ? If so, what would it be like ?
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What does it mean to have a sense of geometry innate to us - if that is in fact the case?

Most people, if asked whether they know any geometry, will answer no; but most, if not all, can recognise a straight line, a right angle, or a circle; of course they will not be able to define them as ...
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Is meditation valid to study consciousness scientifically?

In the study of consciousness, neuroscience observes mental phenomena through physical correlations, using techniques such as fMRI, PET and EEG. These are considered valid and reproductible, and can ...
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What good books are there on the mind–body problem?

What good books are there on the mind–body problem? I would be especially curious whether there are any well-written books about the "mind vs. brain" problem and related questions like the hard/soft ...
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Consciousness without thoughts or feelings?

I have noticed that I can sit in a room around people and be consciously aware ... but have no thoughts at all. People often say that your "mind is always thinking", but I can literally stare at a ...
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Is there any literature discussing whether all conscious entities are separate, discrete experiencers or a single experiencer?

I would like to know if there is any work discussing whether conscious entities (minds) are perceived by different "experiencers," arguably who we are. The other option as far as I know would be ...
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What consciousness theory refers to all of us being the same observing entity?

Recently I ran across this amusing but thought provoking CGI video supposedly by Zak Field (can't find the original page, so apologies for the Facebook link). In it, the "alien" being questioned ...
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Should “meaning”, as we experience it, be considered qualia?

By qualia - assume as defined in [wikipedia]:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia, give or take ( up to you ) By "meaning as we experience it", perhaps I could just say "meaning", but i want to ...
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What has modern Neuroscience contributed to philosophy of mind (as opposed to science in general)?

Most introductory philosophy of mind lectures include a statement along the following line: "Modern developments in Brain and Neuroscience have influenced the way philosophers talk about the mind", ...
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What is the relationship between cognition and qualia?

First, I must admit I'm having trouble formulating this question because I'm somewhat confused about the relationship between these two items (cognition and qualia). Please let me know if I can ...
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Does unconsciousness exist? Do we have sufficient warrant to believe consciousness is interruptible?

I posted this question on Reddit's /r/AskPhilosophy sub, but didn't receive much of a response. Hoping you guys can help. As I see it, there are two versions to the claim that consciousness is ...
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Is consciousness information?

In living organisms with a brain, consciousness arises from the way neurons are interconnected with each other, hence, an arrangement. Just like an arrangement of particles in the universe consist of ...
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Are there thought experiments about physicalism?

Other than Mary's Room and maybe Searle's Chinese Room are there any other interesting thought experiments against the ideas of physicalism, and the idea our minds are identical to our brains?
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Understanding Sellars' The Myth of the Given rigorously

I understand the general view presented by Sellars in "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind". Yet, I can't get rigorously convinced. The main point is shown in part XIII, specifically in section 35. ...
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What scientific evidence is there that our actions are pre-conscious?

I recall reading some article or other some time ago that it had been demonstrated that our actions are apparent before we are entirely conscious of them; and here we are not talking about fractions ...
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If there's an physically identical copy of me, is that me?

I recently came up with a question. It is as you may know based on consciousness. Let’s say I made a blueprint of myself, exactly the same person I am talking at the atomic level. Let us say the ...
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How does Kant rule out permanent soul in his argument for the existence of external world?

I have been studying Stephan Körner's intro to Kant's philosophy. I'm not sure if in the following excerpt I make sense of the reasoning quoted from Kant. In fact, I wonder how the permanence must be ...
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Why do epiphenomenalists believe that consciousness exists?

Epiphenomenalists believe that consciousness exists but has no effect on the physical world. Why do they believe that consciousness exists? It would be a phenomenon completely unlike anything else in ...