Philosopher and scientist ThomasMetzinger argues that neuroscience's picture of the "self" as an emergent phenomenon of our biology and the attendant fact that the "self" can be manipulated--and even controlled--raises novel and serious ...
The contributions to this book are original articles, representing a cross-section of current philosophical work on consciousness and thereby allowing students and readers from other disciplines to acquaint themselves with the very latest debate, so that they can then pursue their own research interests more effectively. The volume includes a bibliography on consciousness in philosophy, cognitive science and brain research, covering the last 25 years and consisting of over 1000 entries in 18 thematic sections, compiled by David Chalmers and (...) class='Hi'>ThomasMetzinger. (shrink)
This is a bibliography of books and articles on consciousness in philosophy, cognitive science, and neuroscience over the last 30 years. There are three main sections, devoted to monographs, edited collections of papers, and articles. The first two of these sections are each divided into three subsections containing books in each of the main areas of research. The third section is divided into 12 subsections, with 10 subject headings for philosophical articles along with two additional subsections for articles in cognitive (...) science and neuroscience. Of course the division is somewhat arbitrary, but I hope that it makes the bibliography easier to use. This bibliography has first been compiled by ThomasMetzinger and David Chalmers to appear in print in two philosophical anthologies on conscious experience . From 1995 onwards it has been continuously updated by ThomasMetzinger, and now is freely available as a PDF-, RTF-, or HTML-file. This bibliography mainly attempts to cover the Anglo-Saxon and German debates, in a non-annotated, fully formatted way that makes it easy to "cut and paste" from the original file. To a certain degree this bibliography also contains items in other languages than English and German - all submissions in other languages are welcome. Last update of current version: July 13th, 2001. (shrink)
This collection of essays, presented to William Humbert Kane, O.P., founder of the Albertus Magnus Lyceum, has as its principle of unification the notion that the metaphysics and philosophy of nature of Aristotle, Albertus Magnus, and Thomas Aquinas relate directly and importantly--and more than historically--to modern science in all of its aspects. The general reader will probably find that several of the articles illumine for him aspects of the Aristotelian philosophy as much as they do aspects of modern science.--K. (...) P. F. (shrink)
In mental action there is no motor output to be controlled and no sensory input vector that could be manipulated by bodily movement. It is therefore unclear whether this specific target phenomenon can be accommodated under the predictive processing framework at all, or if the concept of “active inference” can be adapted to this highly relevant explanatory domain. This contribution puts the phenomenon of mental action into explicit focus by introducing a set of novel conceptual instruments and developing a first (...) positive model, concentrating on epistemic mental actions and epistemic self-control. Action initiation is a functionally adequate form of self-deception; mental actions are a specific form of predictive control of effective connectivity, accompanied and possibly even functionally mediated by a conscious “epistemic agent model”. The overall process is aimed at increasing the epistemic value of pre-existing states in the conscious self-model, without causally looping through sensory sheets or using the non-neural body as an instrument for active inference. (shrink)
The goal of this short chapter, aimed at philosophers, is to provide an overview and brief explanation of some central concepts involved in predictive processing (PP). Even those who consider themselves experts on the topic may find it helpful to see how the central terms are used in this collection. To keep things simple, we will first informally define a set of features important to predictive processing, supplemented by some short explanations and an alphabetic glossary. -/- The features described here (...) are not shared in all PP accounts. Some may not be necessary for an individual model; others may be contested. Indeed, not even all authors of this collection will accept all of them. To make this transparent, we have encouraged contributors to indicate briefly which of the features are necessary to support the arguments they provide, and which (if any) are incompatible with their account. For the sake of clarity, we provide the complete list here, very roughly ordered by how central we take them to be for “Vanilla PP” (i.e., a formulation of predictive processing that will probably be accepted by most researchers working on this topic). More detailed explanations will be given below. Note that these features do not specify individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for the application of the concept of “predictive processing”. All we currently have is a semantic cluster, with perhaps some overlapping sets of jointly sufficient criteria. The framework is still developing, and it is difficult, maybe impossible, to provide theory-neutral explanations of all PP ideas without already introducing strong background assumptions. (shrink)
Genes adjacent to species-specific loci are 6.2% older than genes adjacent to other dynamic loci (P < 10âˆ’2 by randomization; gray bars in Fig. 3); thus, species-specific genes are not randomly distributed but are found preferentially in the older regions, indicating that the incipient Escherichia and Salmonella lineages continued to participate in recombination at loci unlinked to lineage-specific genes.
This metatheoretical paper investigates mind wandering from the perspective of philosophy of mind. It has two central claims. The first is that, on a conceptual level, mind wandering can be fruitfully described as a specific form of mental autonomy loss. The second is that, given empirical constraints, most of what we call “conscious thought” is better analyzed as a subpersonal process that more often than not lacks crucial properties traditionally taken to be the hallmark of personal-level cognition - such as (...) mental agency, explicit, consciously experienced goal-directedness, or availability for veto control. I claim that for roughly two thirds of our conscious life-time we do not possess mental autonomy (M-autonomy) in this sense. Empirical data from research on mind wandering and nocturnal dreaming clearly show that phenomenally represented cognitive processing is mostly an automatic, non-agentive process and that personal-level cognition is an exception rather than the rule. This raises an interesting new version of the mind-body problem: How is subpersonal cognition causally related to personal-level thought? More fine-grained phenomenological descriptions for what we called “conscious thought” in the past are needed, as well as a functional decomposition of umbrella terms like “mind wandering” into different target phenomena and a better understanding of the frequent dynamic transitions between spontaneous, task-unrelated thought and meta-awareness. In an attempt to lay some very first conceptual foundations for the now burgeoning field of research on mind wandering, the third section proposes two new criteria for individuating single episodes of mind-wandering, namely, the “self-representational blink” (SRB) and a sudden shift in the phenomenological “unit of identification” (UI). I close by specifying a list of potentially innovative research goals that could serve to establish a stronger connection between mind wandering research and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This metatheoretical paper develops a list of new research targets by exploring particularly promising interdisciplinary contact points between empirical dream research and philosophy of mind. The central example is the MPS-problem. It is constituted by the epistemic goal of conceptually isolating and empirically grounding the phenomenal property of “minimal phenomenal selfhood,” which refers to the simplest form of self-consciousness. In order to precisely describe MPS, one must focus on those conditions that are not only causally enabling, but strictly necessary to (...) bring it into existence. This contribution argues that research on bodiless dreams, asomatic out-of-body experiences, and full-body illusions has the potential to make decisive future contributions. Further items on the proposed list of novel research targets include differentiating the concept of a “first-person perspective” on the subcognitive level; investigating relevant phenomenological and neurofunctional commonalities between mind-wandering and dreaming; comparing the functional depth of embodiment across dream and wake states; and demonstrating that the conceptual consequences of cognitive corruption and systematic rationality deficits in the dream state are much more serious for philosophical epistemology (and, perhaps, the methodology of dream research itself) than commonly assumed. The paper closes by specifying a list of potentially innovative research goals that could serve to establish a stronger connection between dream research and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to present a first list of ethical concerns that may arise from research and personal use of virtual reality (VR) and related technology, and to offer concrete recommendations for minimizing those risks. Many of the recommendations call for focused research initiatives. In the first part of the article, we discuss the relevant evidence from psychology that motivates our concerns. In Section “Plasticity in the Human Mind,” we cover some of the main results suggesting that (...) one’s environment can influence one’s psychological states, as well as recent work on inducing illusions of embodiment. Then, in Section “Illusions of Embodiment and Their Lasting Effect,” we go on to discuss recent evidence indicating that immersion in VR can have psychological effects that last after leaving the virtual environment. In the second part of the article, we turn to the risks and recommendations. We begin, in Section “The Research Ethics of VR,” with the research ethics of VR, covering six main topics: the limits of experimental environments, informed consent, clinical risks, dual-use, online research, and a general point about the limitations of a code of conduct for research. Then, in Section “Risks for Individuals and Society,” we turn to the risks of VR for the general public, covering four main topics: long-term immersion, neglect of the social and physical environment, risky content, and privacy. We offer concrete recommendations for each of these 10 topics, summarized in Table 1. (shrink)
Die Übernahme des KI-Unternehmens DeepMind durch Google für rund eine halbe Milliarde US-Dollar signalisierte vor einem Jahr, dass von der KI-Forschung vielversprechende Ergebnisse erwartet werden. Spätestens seit bekannte Wissenschaftler wie Stephen Hawking und Unternehmer wie Elon Musk oder Bill Gates davor warnen, dass künstliche Intelligenz eine Bedrohung für die Menschheit darstellt, schlägt das KI-Thema hohe Wellen. Die Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus (EAS, vormals GBS Schweiz) hat mit der Unterstützung von Experten/innen aus Informatik und KI ein umfassendes Diskussionspapier zu den Chancen (...) und Risiken der künstlichen Intelligenz verfasst und geht darin auf aktuelle, mittel- und langfristige Herausforderungen im Bereich der KI-Entwicklung ein. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical and scienti .c discussions of mind developed from a 'proto-concept of mind ',a mythical,tradition- alistic,animistic and quasi-sensory theory about what it means to have a mind. It can be found in many di .erent cultures and has a semantic core corresponding to the folk-phenomenological notion of a 'soul '.It will be argued that this notion originates in accurate and truthful .rst-person reports about the experiential content of a special neurophenomenological state-class called 'out-of-body experiences '.They can be undergone by (...) every human being and seem to possess a culturally invariant cluster of functional and phenomenal core properties similar to the proto-concept of mind. The common causal factor in the emergence and development of the notion of the soul and the proto-concept of mind may consist in a yet to be determined set of properties realized by the human brain, underlying the cluster of phenomenal properties described in the relevant first-person reports. This hypothesis suggests that such a neurofunctional substrate ed human beings at different times, and in widely varying cultural contexts, to postulate the existence of a soul and to begin developing a theory of mind. (shrink)
Before one can even begin to model consciousness and what exactly it means that it is a subjective phenomenon one needs a theory about what a first-person perspective really is. This theory has to be conceptually convincing, empirically plausible and, most of all, open to new developments. The chosen conceptual framework must be able to accommodate scientific progress. Its ba- sic assumptions have to be plastic as it were, so that new details and empirical data can continuously be fed into (...) the theoretical model as it grows and becomes more refined. This paper makes an attempt at sketching the outlines of such a theory, offering a representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person perspective. Three phenomenal target properties are centrally relevant. (shrink)
What we traditionally call ‘conscious thought’ actually is a subpersonal process, and only rarely a form of mental action. The paradigmatic, standard form of conscious thought is non-agentive, because it lacks veto-control and involves an unnoticed loss of epistemic agency and goal-directed causal self-determination at the level of mental content. Conceptually, it must be described as an unintentional form of inner behaviour. Empirical research shows that we are not mentally autonomous subjects for about two thirds of our conscious lifetime, because (...) while conscious cognition is unfolding, it often cannot be inhibited, suspended, or terminated. The instantiation of a stable first- person perspective as well as of certain necessary conditions of personhood turn out to be rare, graded, and dynamically variable properties of human beings. I argue that individual representational events only become part of a personal-level process by being functionally integrated into a specific form of transparent conscious self-representation, the ‘epistemic agent model’. The EAM may be the true origin of our consciously experienced firstperson perspective. (shrink)
To have an ontology is to interpret a world. In this paper we argue that the brain, viewed as a representational system aimed at interpreting our world, possesses an ontology too. It creates primitives and makes existence assumptions. It decomposes target space in a way that exhibits a certain invariance, which in turn is functionally significant. We will investigate which are the functional regularities guiding this decomposition process, by answering to the following questions: What are the explicit and implicit assumptions (...) about the structure of reality, which at the same time shape the causal profile of the brain's motor output and its representational deep structure, in particular of the conscious mind arising from it (its ''phenomenal output'')? How do they constrain high-level phenomena like conscious experience, the emergence of a first-person perspective, or social cognition? By reviewing a series of neuroscientific results and integrating them with a wider philosophical perspective, we will emphasize the contribution the motor system makes to this process. As it will be shown, the motor system constructs goals, actions, and intending selves as basic constituents of the world it interprets. It does so by assigning a single, unified causal role to them. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the brain models movements and action goals in terms of multimodal representations of organism-object-relations. Under a representationalist analysis, this process can be conceived of as an internal, dynamic representation of the intentionality-relation itself. We will show how such a complex form of representational content, once it is in place, can later function as a functional building block for social cognition and for a more complex, consciously experienced representation of the first-person perspective as well. (shrink)