Polysemy ( pron.: / p ə ˈ l ɪ s ɨ m i / or / ˈ p ɒ l ɨ s iː m i / ; [ 1 ] [ 2 ] from Greek : πολυ- , poly- , "many" and σῆμα , sêma , "sign") is the capacity for a sign (e.g., a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple related meanings ( sememes ), i.e., a large semantic field . It is usually regarded as distinct from homonymy , in which the multiple meanings of a word may be unconnected or unrelated. Charles Fillmore and Beryl Atkins’ definition stipulates three elements: (i) the various senses of a polysemous word have a central origin, (ii) the links between these senses form a network, and (iii) understanding the ‘inner’ one contributes to understanding of the ‘outer’ one. [ 3 ]
A strange loop , technically called tangled hierarchy consciousness, arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back where one started. Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox . The concept of a strange loop was proposed and extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach , and is further elaborated in Hofstadter's book I Am a Strange Loop , published in 2007. A tangled hierarchy is a hierarchical consciousness system in which a strange loop appears.
The quantum mind–body problem refers to the philosophical discussions of the mind–body problem in the context of quantum mechanics . Some interpretations of quantum mechanics posit a special role for consciousness in the process of quantum measurement . [ edit ] Background and history
The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences — how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes. [ 1 ] David Chalmers , [ 2 ] who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness, contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, etc. Easy problems are easy because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function. That is, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they may be, can be entirely consistent with the modern materialistic conception of natural phenomena. Chalmers claims that the problem of experience is distinct from this set, and he argues that the problem of experience will "persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained". [ 3 ]
In science , the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.
The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle . It supposes that there is a program that gives a computer the ability to carry on an intelligent conversation in written Chinese. If the program is given to someone who speaks only English to execute the instructions of the program by hand, then in theory, the English speaker would also be able to carry on a conversation in written Chinese. However, the English speaker would not be able to understand the conversation. Similarly, Searle concludes, a computer executing the program would not understand the conversation either. The experiment is the centerpiece of Searle's Chinese room argument which holds that a program cannot give a computer a " mind ", " understanding " or " consciousness ", [ a ] regardless of how intelligently it may make it behave.
An intuition pump is a thought experiment structured to elicit intuitive answers about a problem. [ 1 ] The term was coined by Daniel Dennett . In Consciousness Explained , he uses the term pejoratively to describe John Searle 's Chinese room thought experiment, characterizing it as designed to elicit intuitive but incorrect answers by formulating the description in such a way that important implications of the experiment would be difficult to imagine and tend to be ignored. In the case of the Chinese Room argument, Dennett argues that the intuitive notion that a person manipulating symbols seems inadequate to constitute any form of consciousness ignores the requirements of memory , recall , emotion , world knowledge and rationality that the system would actually need to pass such a test. "Searle does not deny that programs can have all this structure, of course," Dennett says. [ 2 ] "He simply discourages us from attending to it.
The Twin Earth thought experiment was a thought experiment presented by philosopher Hilary Putnam in his 1973 paper "Meaning and Reference" and subsequent 1975 paper "The Meaning of 'Meaning'", as an early argument for what has subsequently come to be known as semantic externalism . Since that time, philosophers have proposed a number of variations on the experiment. [ edit ] The thought experiment
Swampman is the subject of a philosophical thought experiment introduced by Donald Davidson , in his 1987 paper "Knowing One's Own Mind". The experiment runs as follows: Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bolt spontaneously rearranges a bunch of molecules such that, entirely by coincidence, they take on exactly the same form that Davidson's body had at the moment of his untimely death. This being, whom Davidson terms 'Swampman', has, of course, a brain which is structurally identical to that which Davidson had, and will thus, presumably, behave exactly as Davidson would have. He will walk out of the swamp, return to Davidson's office at Berkeley, and write the same essays he would have written; he will interact like an amicable person with all of Davidson's friends and family, and so forth.
A phrenological mapping [ 1 ] of the brain . Phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain. Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind , mental events , mental functions , mental properties , consciousness , and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem , i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as one key issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body, such as how consciousness is possible and the nature of particular mental states. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] Dualism and monism are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind-body problem.
Neuroscience of free will refers to recent neuroscientific investigation of questions concerning free will . It is a topic of philosophy and science . One question is whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions or decisions. As it has become possible to study the living brain , researchers have begun to watch decision making processes at work. Findings could carry implications for moral responsibility in general. Moreover, some research shows that if findings seem to challenge people's belief in the idea of free will itself then this can affect their sense of agency (e.g. sense of control in their life). [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
Representation of consciousness from the seventeenth century. Consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] It has been defined as: subjectivity , awareness , sentience , the ability to experience or to feel , wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood , and the executive control system of the mind. [ 3 ] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. [ 4 ] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness : "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives." [ 5 ] Philosophers since the time of Descartes and Locke have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and pin down its essential properties.