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Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Time for empathy?

As I write, two days have passed since I woke to learn that the new US President-elect was Donald Trump. I’ve spent much of these two days reading articles on the web, trying to get a handle on what’s going on in the world, and in particular how to understand the results both in the […]

November 11, 2016   Posted in: announcements, philosophy, politics  Comments Closed

Another easy answer

This is a follow-up to this recent post, and it refers to the same Guardian article. As I see it, the “philosophical zombie”, a hypothetical creature that can pass as a normal human being in every way but is actually just a “brilliant robot”, entirely automatic, is simply a person with whom you do not […]

March 3, 2015   Posted in: consciousness, Dennett, philosophy  Comments Closed

The Hard Problem of consciousness and its easy answer

And the answer is: the zombie is simply any person with whom you do not empathise. The UK newspaper The Guardian recently published what I guess is quite a good account of the state of the art in consciousness studies, which asks Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? Philosopher David […]

February 28, 2015   Posted in: consciousness, philosophy  One Comment

Reasons to be cheerful

Both of the last two posts were stimulated at least in part by my reaction to people—friends, in real life—bemoaning the state of the world, usually in a vaguely left-wing liberal sort of way. I think I’d have reacted similarly, though, if the moaners—because that’s what I felt them to be—had been right-wingers, for instance […]

April 16, 2013   Posted in: Buddhism, philosophy  Comments Closed

Skepticism, Buddhism, philosophy and science

Fascinating discussion this morning (repeated in short form tonight at 9.30 and available indefinitely on the web) on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time programme, on skepticism, or as they spell it, scepticism. (I might be suspected of sucking up to the Yanks by using their spelling, but I think it is much more common […]

July 5, 2012   Posted in: philosophy  Comments Closed

Turing and the decoding of meaning

Wired article summarising neuroscientist Ray Dolan’s recent Turing Lecture: …Dolan argued that just as cryptanalysis was critical for decoding the Enigma machine, used by the Germans in World War II, the brain decodes the state of the world. In doing so, it uses statistical procedures very much like those Turing and his colleagues used at […]

February 29, 2012   Posted in: information, philosophy  Comments Closed

DTMD abstract and slides

My talk at the DTMD workshop (see recent posts) is this afternoon, and I thought I’d make the abstract and slides available.

September 7, 2011   Posted in: announcements, consciousness, Dennett, information, philosophy, physics  Comments Closed

Dissertation comments

Throwing caution to the wind, I’ve decided to publish selected markers’ comments on the MSc dissertation. I’m striving for a degree of balance, here, but I’m not claiming to have achieved it. There were two markers, who wrote about 3.5 sides of A4 paper between them. (“Selected” in the first sentence applies to the comments, […]

July 21, 2011   Posted in: announcements, philosophy  Comments Closed

Feeling my way forward

I was slightly shocked to realise that it’s been nearly ten months since my last post. I suppose I got out of the habit while working on my MSc dissertation. The eventual submission date was 22nd December, and since then I’ve been trying to decide what to do next. For a number of reasons—mainly the […]

March 19, 2011   Posted in: announcements, information, philosophy  Comments Closed

A movie with its heart in the right place, but…

…to be honest I haven’t seen Being In The World yet (it doesn’t seem to have been released), so what follows is based on the website, but there are enough trailers, clips and text there to get me thinking. Being In The World is a new movie by Tao Ruspoli, and, as is common these […]

March 30, 2010   Posted in: AI, philosophy, psychology  Comments Closed


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