Saturday, January 16, 2021
This post will look at some of the potential implications for evolutionary theory of two books for the general reader, both published fairly recently. These are The First Minds: Caterpillars, Karyotes, and Consciousness by Arthur Reber and Richard Prum's The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us. If the central arguments of these two books are accepted and juxtaposed with each other, the implications for evolutionary theory are very deep.
Monday, April 29, 2019
The purpose of this post is to explore the relations between money, abstract thought and panpsychism.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In Twilight of the Idols and other works, one of the key critical targets of Friedrich Nietzsche is the dichotomy often posited by philosophers between a “true” world and the supposedly illusory or deficient apparent world that is felt, sensed and experienced. Nietzsche argues that the disparagement of the apparent world in favour of the “true” world is unjustified, unproductive and unhealthy. The “true” worlds upon which he aims he sights include the barren atomistic world of materialist science, the spiritual world existing beyond the body posited by various religions, and the world of abstract ideation of idealist philosophies of the day.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Following some of the paths which Nagel’s work opens up, the aim of this post is to offer some speculations on the implications of the form of panpsychism known as cosmopsychism for views about the evolution of life. Cosmospychism is the view that the universe is a conscious subject, from which human consciousness is derived or grounded. For the purposes of this post I will be assuming that cosmopsychism is plausible ( meaning that it is has a rational basis and is not wildly improbable).
Friday, February 16, 2018
'I think there is a bomb lodged in the foundations of science that may be about to go off. It is a bomb that Charles Darwin inadvertently set ticking, William James exposed for all to see - and which 20th century thought has done its best to try and bury.'
So wrote organic chemist and author Graham-Cairns Smith nearly twenty years ago. The bomb which he was referring to is William James' evolutionary argument for the causal efficacy of consciousness (hereafter, ‘the evolutionary argument’). Although no bomb has gone off since Cairns-Smith's words, the issues the evolutionary argument present for scientific materialism remain.
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Friday, April 14, 2017
However, like many others I suspect, my westernised mind often struggles with ways to make sense of these traditions without an almost automatic characterization of them as 'primitive', 'animistic', 'superstitious' or 'irrational'.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
There is a lot in the article. Just one thing I would like to highlight in this post is Strawson's critique of the assumption of the non-experiential nature of reality. Here is an excerpt:
" '..why not suppose that the basic nature of concrete reality is non -experiential rather than experiential?’
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
I quote the passage not for the strength of its argumentation (which I think is a condesation of some of the arguments of Gustav Fechner), but as an example of an innovative interdisciplinary thinker who was influenced by panexperientialism:
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Includes questions answered by Galen Strawson, David Chalmers, William Seager, Gregg Rosenberg, David Skrbina and others. Most clips go for roughly 1 to 3 minutes and are well worth a look.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Friday, February 04, 2011
“there is exactly one entity - the Universe itself. This entity can be
adequately described as being essentially
(i) an objective matter of fact,
(ii) objectively structured, i.e. not completely homogeneous,
(iii) a subject of experience and
(iv) exemplifying experiential content.”
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
The discussion contains a number of posts by philosopher Christian de Quincey, author of Radical Nature.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
The logical possibility of a zombie world -in which humans behave identically to the way they do in the real world but in which conscious experience is absent- is often used in antiphysicalist arguments to show that consciousness does not supervene on or is not entailed by the physical facts of the world.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Monday, March 28, 2005
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
"Take the case of pain. We have this feeling if certain cells of ours undergo damage. But if the cells have their own feelings, they can hardly enjoy being damaged. So what is our suffering but our participating in their suffering? Hurt certain of my cells and you hurt me."
Monday, January 17, 2005
Friday, December 31, 2004
In my view, Whitehead’s cosmology can be usefully understood as a characterisation of the world as an ocean of interplaying emotions. The best method of comprehending this may often be with an aesthetic frame of mind, rather than with the logician’s scalpel.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Mind, Body and Affect: A Reconceptualisation of the Placebo Effect
It is commonplace to say that the placebo effect and related phenomena constitute a nexus at which the natural and social sciences converge. Like psychosomatic disorders, ‘Voodoo Death’, Culture-bound reactive syndromes and so forth, the placebo effect provides valuable material for interdisciplinary research. Yet the inherent mind-body dualism of all the sciences has hampered such research to date. The purpose of this paper is to put forward an alternative conceptual model for analysing these phenomena.