Consciousness

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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. Polysemes[edit] Polysemy Polysemy
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. Strange loop Strange loop
An interpretation of quantum mechanics is a set of statements which attempt to explain how quantum mechanics informs our understanding of nature. Although quantum mechanics has held up to rigorous and thorough experimental testing, many of these experiments are open to different interpretations. There exist a number of contending schools of thought, differing over whether quantum mechanics can be understood to be deterministic, which elements of quantum mechanics can be considered "real", and other matters. This question is of special interest to philosophers of physics, as physicists continue to show a strong interest in the subject. They usually consider an interpretation of quantum mechanics as an interpretation of the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics, specifying the physical meaning of the mathematical entities of the theory. History of interpretations[edit] Quantum mind–body problem Quantum mind–body problem
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. These questions include, but are not limited to, whether being conscious could be wholly described in physical terms, such as the aggregation of neural processes in the brain. If consciousness cannot be explained exclusively by physical events, it must transcend the capabilities of physical systems and require an explanation of nonphysical means. Hard problem of consciousness 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. 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. Observer effect (physics)
Chinese room The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle in order 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. 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. In order 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
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. 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 [...]. Intuition pump Intuition pump
Twin Earth thought experiment 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. Since that time, philosophers have proposed a number of variations on the experiment. The thought experiment[edit]
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. Swampman
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]

Philosophy of mind

Philosophy of mind
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]

Neuroscience of free will

Consciousness

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: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, 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.