Philosophy of mind


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Photo posed by a model. Phillip Suddick/Getty

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
The problem of mindfulness

Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos

Sahanika Ratnayake

Illustration by Michael Marsicano

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
How the light gets out

Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?

Michael Graziano

Contemplating the deep future, in light of the past: philosopher Nick Bostrom at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. Photo by Andy Sansom/Aeon Magazine

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Omens

When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

Ross Andersen

Beast-machines. The City Rises by Umberto Boccioni (1910). MOMA. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Neuroscience
The real problem

It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be

Anil K Seth

Detail from Senecio by Paul Klee. 1922. Oil on gauze. Kunstmuseum, Basel. Photo by Corbis

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
I am not a story

Some find it comforting to think of life as a story. Others find that absurd. So are you a Narrative or a non-Narrative?

Galen Strawson

Big Burger by Tjalf Sparnaay 2015, 180 x 120 cm, oil on linen. Courtesy Bernarducci Meisel Gallery New York

Essay/
Mood and emotion
The hunger mood

Hunger isn’t in your stomach or your blood-sugar levels. It’s in your mind – and that’s where we need to shape up

Michael Graziano

Detail from the visualization of the model juvenile rat cortical column, as created by the Blue Brain Project in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo courtesy EPFL/Blue Brain Project

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The mental block

Consciousness is the greatest mystery in science. Don’t believe the hype: the Hard Problem is here to stay

Michael Hanlon

An art student paints a picture for a school exhibition. 1961. Photo by Eve Arnold/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
I attend, therefore I am

You are only as strong as your powers of attention, and other uncomfortable truths about the self

Carolyn Dicey Jennings

Photo by Steve McCurry/Magnum

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The mathematics of mind-time

The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures

Karl Friston

Illustration by Matt Murphy via Handsome Frank

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Should we be afraid of AI?

Machines seem to be getting smarter and smarter and much better at human jobs, yet true AI is utterly implausible. Why?

Luciano Floridi

Detail of Picture from 8 Sides (1930-6), by Kurt Schwitters; oil and wood relief on panel. Courtesy Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The consciousness illusion

Phenomenal consciousness is a fiction written by our brains to help us track the impact that the world makes on us

Keith Frankish

Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Are you sleepwalking now?

Given how little control we have of our wandering minds, how can we cultivate real mental autonomy?

Thomas Metzinger

‘You could walk around a simulated city street, feel a cool breeze, enjoy yourself.’ Photo courtesy IGN/Playstation Home

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Endless fun

The question is not whether we can upload our brains onto a computer, but what will become of us when we do

Michael Graziano

Two Philosophers. Original painting of Gregg Caruso and Daniel Dennett by Andrea Ventura.

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Just deserts

Can we be held morally responsible for our actions? Yes, says Daniel Dennett. No, says Gregg Caruso. Reader, you decide

Daniel C Dennett & Gregg D Caruso

Jimmy Turrell/Heart Agency

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Consciousness creep

Our machines could become self-aware without our knowing it. We need a better way to define and test for consciousness

George Musser

Detail from Self Portrait (1500) by Albrecht Dürer. The text to the right broadly translates as ‘Thus I, Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg, created myself with characteristic colours at the age of 28 years.’ Courtesy Wikipedia/Alte Pinakothek München

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
Consciousness is real

Consciousness is neither a spooky mystery nor an illusory belief. It’s a valid and causally efficacious biological reality

Massimo Pigliucci

Paul Gauguin Self Portrait with Halo and Snake (1889). Oil on board. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington/Wikipedia

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Change becomes you

Being the same person over time is not about holding on to every aspect of your current self but about changing purposefully

Kevin Tobia

Photo by Stephan Vanfleteren/Panos

Essay/
Neuroscience
The interoceptive turn

The science of how we sense ourselves from within, including our bodily states, is creating a radical picture of selfhood

Noga Arikha

Photo by Kieran Dodds/Panos

Essay/
Neuroscience
The theory of mind myth

Even experts can’t predict violence or suicide. Surely we’re kidding ourselves that we can see inside the minds of others

Robert A Burton

The Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw, Kyaiktiyo, Burma (now Myanmar), in 1978. According to legend, the rock is balanced on a strand of Buddha’s hair. Photo by Hiroji Kubota/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Buddhism and self-deception

How can I logically manage to deceive myself? Buddhist thought offers a way out of the philosophical paradox

Katie Javanaud

The village school Photo by Georges Dussaud/Rapho/Getty

Essay/
History of ideas
The ages of distraction

Busy, distracted, inattentive? Everybody has been since at least 1710 and here are the philosophers to prove it

Frank Furedi

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in the hive, Würzburg, Germany. Photo by Mark Moffatt/Minden/National Geographic

Essay/
Biology
Bee-brained

Are insects ‘philosophical zombies’ with no inner life? Close attention to their behaviours and moods suggests otherwise

Lars Chittka & Catherine Wilson