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 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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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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Is death impossible because it is impossible to be conscious of being unconscious? [closed]

I looked at a site called The Truth Contest which is a compliation of what "The ultimate truth" is. One of the ideas explored is immortality. Here is an excerpt: You are immortal; it is impossible ...
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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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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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Can a version of the philosophical zombie concept be used to argue for libertarian freewill?

Philosophical Zombies are a thought experiment that is used to argue for dualism and against functionalism. The argument goes something like this: A purely functionalist account of the mind fails to ...
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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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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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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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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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How does one bring mind and matter into a single ontology that accounts for subconscious mind?

How does one define mind and matter coherently... do these categories even make sense in a single framework? I can refer to my consciousness and the contents of my consciousness as "mind", this leaves ...
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How do epiphenomenalists make sense of discussions about qualia?

Epiphenomenalists believe that mental events have no causal effect on the physical. They may differ in what they consider "mental events" but it seems all of them would consider qualia / phenomenal ...
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Why do philosophical discussions of the teleportation paradox seem to ignore the physics involved?

When I read philosophy treatments of the teleportation paradox and related subjects like swampman, they seem to focus primarily on drawing analogies to various entirely different scenarios (...
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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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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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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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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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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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If we had a hive mind, could we discover it?

Question prompted by @jobermark answer to my question: Are there many minds or is there only one? The idea that 'greater-that-the-sum-of-its-parts' minds (functional decision capable entities) exist ...
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Qualia in Computers [closed]

If it is possible to simulate consciousness using computer hardware and software, does that mean that computers are able to experience qualia?
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Is humanity as a whole a philosophical zombie?

In some respects human communities function like intelligent subjects. They acquire and process knowledge, and then act on it. This collective "intelligence" is not reducible to individuals: ...
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Almost Sure Mind Transfer via Parfit's Identity Theory (interesting thought experiment)

Under Derek Parfit's theory of identity, we should direct our concern to future selves not because they are identical to us, but because they bear some special relation to our current self. He used ...
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Dreaming and Awakening: Both False?

Please pardon my layman's language as I am not a student of philosophy. I was talking to a friend who has read Advaita Philosophy of Shankara in-depth. He iterated the fundamental theory of this ...
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What are some arguments against the hard problem of consciousness?

Does anyone know of any particularly interesting arguments or rebuttals against the hard problem of consciousness? I'm looking for arguments that are either neurological, cognitive, or philosophical ...
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How does physiology support the claims of transparent consciousness or direct realism?

Although no one can say with certainty how conscious experience is realized in relation to the brain's activity, all the evidence seems to indicate that it must occur somewhere downstream from the LGN ...
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Can a person's 'sense of self' be transported across spacetime?

Let us assume that transportation of human beings (and other objects) is possible (maybe in the future), and we have the technology to do so. (Please don't debate the scientific plausibility of this.) ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Would rebuilding a human body rebuild the person it was?

I have zero background in philosophy, so forgive me for...asking this in an informal manner. We have a hypothetical scenario. Suppose that our consciousness at some time were reducible to ...
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Sketch of a proof for real free will?

I have read many contemporary philosophers and the mainstream view seems to be that real free will is an illusion in the sense that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon which is only set on top of ...
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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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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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Does Neural Complexity Have Anything To Do With Consciousness?

I am quoting here something from George Stuart Fullerton's An Introduction To Philosophy. Here, he is toying with the argument made by W.K. Clifford. We must assume that consciousness is a complex ...
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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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Given Wittgenstein's characterisation of language as essentially public, can he characterise what form thinking takes?

According to Wittgenstein, language is an essentially public activity between minds; and language is structured by a grammar so that this communication can indeed occur. I think, the notion of ...
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Can the existance of consciousness be proven by refering to it?

First question here. I'm new to Philosophy and I'm wondering if it is a correct thing to say "I can prove my consciousness (to myself) by referring to it"? This came up in my philosophy class. ...
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Trouble understanding Chomsky's answers on the free will question

Now, I don't think there's any scientific grasp, any hint of an idea, as to how to explain free will. Suppose somebody argues that free will is an illusion. Okay. This could be the case, but I don't ...
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Am I still the same person as I was yesterday?

Since every living being has a metabolism, we all live in non-equilibrium state. We keep on exchanging molecules and atoms with our environment. I assume that our brain is affected by this as well as ...
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If consciousness is an emergent property of brain state, does this mean that we can only truly exist for 1 Planck unit of time?

Suppose my self-awareness, consciousness, point of view (POV) or qualia is not a "thing in itself" but rather an intrinsic emergent property of my brain's current brain state. Then, as my brain ...
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How do we understand something?

Is there some theory that explains this. When I reflect on how I reason through to an understanding of something (the Eureka moment), it appears that to me that the steps are never sufficient and that ...
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How do I believe in free will? [closed]

After considering all possible ways that famous philosophers have tried to explain it, and reading so many articles that treat it like God’s greatest gift to mankind, I still don’t get it. Is it that ...
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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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Does the existence of colors give evidence against materialism?

It seems to me the only thing about colors that can be understood rationally is that they are distinct. We interact with other people who for the most part label my red as their red, my green as their ...
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What is the purpose of consciousness?

Please jump to the 'Edit' portion of the question, because the below portion MAY seem confusing or irrelevant. Assuming that the control over things we have is illusory, as beautifully explained by ...