Interesting ideas interspersed with nonsense - RSS - by nikhil bhatla, nikhil@superfacts.org -

Category: Consciousness

Free will
May 16, 2014, 11:23p - Consciousness
As a conscious human, I feel as if I'm in control of my actions. When I'm considering what to drink with dinner and get a beer, that action is preceded by the conscious feeling of having made a choice. This contrasts with situations where actions are taken without any feeling of choosing: when I do something when I'm drunk, or ... more »

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Consciousness as the only true emergence
Aug 9, 2013, 9:41a - Consciousness
As a neuroscientist obsessed with consciousness, I've spent the past 6 years in grad school grappling with what my philosophical point-of-view should be on the topic. I just read a new favorite, William Seager's Natural Fabrications (2012), and it has motivated me to write my current thoughts on a whole host of philosophical topics related to consciousness.

Since "consciousness" means ... more »

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Countering a primitivist attack on the soul
May 1, 2013, 11:51a - Consciousness
I probably spend more time thinking about consciousness than any other topic or person (shh, don't tell Becca or my worms :). Previously, I described a simple argument for the existence of the soul, which formed the rational basis for my belief in the soul. My argument was that the existence of consciousness requires a non-physical explanation, so I ... more »

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Let's start with a definition
Aug 10, 2012, 10:05p - Consciousness
My main intellectual interest is to understand how the brain creates consciousness. When I tell this to people, they usually respond with "What do you mean by 'consciousness'? How do you define it?"

Human consciousness is certainly complex, but I think of it as being composed of 3 smaller parts, arranged in a hierarchy. The most primitive part of human ... more »

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The end of visual deprivation
Aug 2, 2011, 7:34a - Consciousness
It's the first day, morning, after opening my eyes after 7 days of visual deprivation. I opened my eyes last night, first in a dark room right after midnight, and then we lit a candle.

The first thing that's very striking, even in the morning now, is that everything that's blue looks extremely BLUE. Either I forgot what blue looked ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Days 6 and 7
Aug 1, 2011, 12:51p - Consciousness
[For background, see my first post on the experiment. This is a rough transcript of a dictation made on day 7.]

It's T minus 11 hours. After talking to Sachin yesterday [day 6], he had a good idea to slowly introduce light back to me eyes, like starting with a candle or another single light source and then maybe ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Day 5
Jul 30, 2011, 11:31p - Consciousness
[For background, see my first post on the experiment. This is a rough transcript of a dictation made on day 6.]

Today was an interesting day. Very nice weather. I'm still pretty lethargic, I took a 2 and a half hour nap, but so did Becca so I'm not sure if it's due to my experiment.

It was Jude's ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Day 4
Jul 29, 2011, 11:32p - Consciousness
[For background, see my first post on the experiment. This is a rough transcript of a dictation made on day 5.]

It's a beautiful day (referring to day 5). Right now I'm sitting in the sun, without a shirt on. It's quite nice. Boris (my tortoise) has emerged from his little borough. He didn't come out yesterday but he ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Day 3
Jul 28, 2011, 10:09p - Consciousness
[For background see my first post on this experiment. This is a rough transcript of a dictation made on day 4.]

I sort of just feel like I'm a puddle of mud. I sort of just feel like I would behave if I'm sick, cause I don't really do much and I just lie around all day. So it ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Day 2
Jul 27, 2011, 11:13p - Consciousness
[For background see my first post about my blindness experiment. This post is a rough transcript of a dictation on day 3.]

Yesterday I had a little bit of an adventure. I went around the block by myself. It's amazing how much I do not walk in a straight line. With cars going by on the street, it's amazing ... more »

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Visual deprivation: Day 1
Jul 26, 2011, 11:07p - Consciousness
[All posts in this series have been backdated to the date they occurred. For background info on my visual deprivation experiment, see my first post on the topic. This post is a rough transcript of a dictation I made on day 2.]

I started Monday night (last night) at midnight. Becca taped stretched-out cotton balls over my eyes, couple pieces ... more »

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My visual deprivation experiment
Jul 15, 2011, 11:40a - Consciousness
Starting tomorrow, I'm going to start a visual deprivation experiment on myself. For 1 week, I'm going to tape my eyes shut. I'm not going into the lab, and I'm certainly not going to be on the Interweb or reading email. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing - I'm guessing trying not to get hit by a car ... more »

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From physics to perception
Jul 6, 2011, 10:10p - Consciousness


I think the most interesting aspect of consciousness is the phenomenon of qualia, which is what it feels like to experience something (aka "subjective experience"). When philosophers talk about qualia, the canonical example of a quale is the "redness of red".

Color perception in general amazes me. Specifically, I find it astonishing that my eyes and brain can take a ... more »

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A simple argument for the existence of the soul
Jun 18, 2011, 9:55a - Consciousness


(1) I am a conscious being with subjective experience of myself and the world around me.

(2) No theory exists for how consciousness (specifically subjective experience or qualia) can arise purely from physical materials.

If you assume (1) and (2) to be true, one logical result is that

(3) We must live in a world that is not purely materialistic. ... more »

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To Be Conscious in a Body, Frozen
May 16, 2009, 11:21a - Consciousness
It's hard to tell if a thing is conscious. You know, if there is something that it feels like to be that thing. I know it feels like something to be a person, and I think it doesn't feel like anything to be a shoe (unless perhaps I've been smoking some salvia), or to be a dead person. But what ... more »

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Brave New Mescaline
Jun 14, 2008, 3:14p - Consciousness
I just finished reading Aldous Huxley's double-book, "The Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell." It was a welcome break from all the academic papers I've been reading lately. Basically, the book is about Huxley's experiments with mescaline (also known as peyote) in the 1950s. Mescaline is a drug that is known to cause vibrant hallucinations for up to 10 ... more »

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