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Polysemy. 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] Polysemy is a pivotal concept within disciplines such as media studies and linguistics.


Strange loop. A strange loop arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back to where one started.

Strange loop

Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox. Quantum mind–body problem. Hard problem of consciousness. The existence of a "hard problem" is controversial and has been disputed by some philosophers.[4][5] Providing an answer to this question could lie in understanding the roles that physical processes play in creating consciousness and the extent to which these processes create our subjective qualities of experience.[3] Several questions about consciousness must be resolved in order to acquire a full understanding of it.

Hard problem of consciousness

Observer effect (physics) In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed.

Observer effect (physics)

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 observer effect on a physical process can often be reduced to insignificance by using better instruments or observation techniques.

Chinese room. The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle to challenge the claim that it is possible for a digital computer running a program to have a "mind" and "consciousness" in the same sense that people do, simply by virtue of running the right program.

Chinese room

According to Searle, when referring to a hypothetical computer program which can be told a story then answer questions about it: Partisans of strong AI claim that in this question and answer sequence the machine is not only simulating a human ability but also (1) that the machine can literally be said to understand the story and provide the answers to questions, and (2) that what the machine and its program do explains the human ability to understand the story and answer questions about it. To contest this view, Searle writes in his first description of the argument: "Suppose that I'm locked in a room and ... that I know no Chinese, either written or spoken". Chinese room thought experiment[edit] More general context[edit] Intuition pump. 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.

Intuition pump

"Searle does not deny that programs can have all this structure, of course," Dennett says.[2] "He simply discourages us from attending to it. But if we are to do a good job imagining the case, we are not only entitled but obliged to imagine that the program Searle is hand-simulating has all this structure — and more, if only we can imagine it. But then it is no longer obvious, I trust, that there is no genuine understanding of the joke going on. " A popular strategy in philosophy is to construct a certain sort of thought experiment I call an intuition pump [...]. See also[edit] References[edit] Jump up ^ Baggini, Julian; Peter Fosl (2003). "2". External links[edit] Twin Earth thought experiment. 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.

Twin Earth thought experiment

Since that time, philosophers have proposed a number of variations on the experiment. The thought experiment[edit] Putnam's original formulation of the experiment was this: We begin by supposing that elsewhere in the universe there is a planet exactly like Earth in virtually all respects, which we refer to as "Twin Earth". (We should also suppose that the relevant surroundings [are exactly the same as for] Earth; it revolves around a star that appears to be exactly like our sun, and so on.) Swampman. 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. Davidson holds that there would nevertheless be a difference, though no one would notice it.

Swampman will appear to recognize Davidson's friends, but it is impossible for him to actually recognize them, as he has never seen them before. Philosophy of mind. 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.

Philosophy of mind

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] Mind–body problem[edit] Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli that arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world, and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant.

Arguments for dualism[edit] Neuroscience of free will. Neuroscience of free will refers to recent neuroscientific investigation of questions concerning free will.

Neuroscience of 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.[1] 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).[2][3] In many senses the field remains highly controversial and there is no consensus among researchers about the significance of findings, their meaning, or what conclusions may be drawn. A monk meditates. Overview[edit] -Patrick Haggard[6] discussing an in-depth experiment by Itzhak Fried[11] Free will as illusion[edit] Experiments[edit] W. Consciousness.

Representation of consciousness from the seventeenth century At one time consciousness was viewed with skepticism by many scientists, but in recent years it has become a significant topic of research in psychology, neuropsychology and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness by asking human subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., "tell me if you notice anything when I do this"). Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by drugs and alcohol, or spiritual or meditative techniques.

Etymology and early history[edit]