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panpsychism


Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

Last year, the cover of New Scientist ran the headline, "Is the Universe Conscious?" Mathematician and physicist Johannes Kleiner, at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy in Germany, told author Michael Brooks that a mathematically precise definition of consciousness could mean that the cosmos is suffused with subjective experience. "This could be the beginning of a scientific revolution," Kleiner said, referring to research he and others have been conducting. Kleiner and his colleagues are focused on the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness, one of the more prominent theories of consciousness today. As Kleiner notes, IIT (as the theory is known) is thoroughly panpsychist because all integrated information has at least one bit of consciousness.


Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious - Issue 94: Evolving

Nautilus

This week we are reprinting our top stories of 2020. This article first appeared online in our Facts So Romantic blog in May, 2020. In May, the cover of New Scientist ran the headline, "Is the Universe Conscious?" Mathematician and physicist Johannes Kleiner, at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy in Germany, told author Michael Brooks that a mathematically precise definition of consciousness could mean that the cosmos is suffused with subjective experience. "This could be the beginning of a scientific revolution," Kleiner said, referring to research he and others have been conducting.


Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

This month, the cover of New Scientist ran the headline, "Is the Universe Conscious?" Mathematician and physicist Johannes Kleiner, at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy in Germany, told author Michael Brooks that a mathematically precise definition of consciousness could mean that the cosmos is suffused with subjective experience. "This could be the beginning of a scientific revolution," Kleiner said, referring to research he and others have been conducting. Kleiner and his colleagues are focused on the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness, one of the more prominent theories of consciousness today. As Kleiner notes, IIT (as the theory is known) is thoroughly panpsychist because all integrated information has at least one bit of consciousness.


Why Philip Pullman Is Obsessed with Panpsychism - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

Philip Pullman is once again having a moment, thanks to the new blockbuster adaptation of His Dark Materials by the BBC and HBO. His fantasy classic--filled with witches, talking bears and "daemons" (people's alter-egos that take animal form)--is rendered in glorious steampunk detail. Pullman has also returned to the fictional world of his heroine, Lyra Belacqua, with a new trilogy, The Book of Dust, which probes more deeply into the central question of his earlier books: What is the nature of consciousness? Pullman loves to write about big ideas, and recent scientific discoveries about dark matter and the Higgs boson have inspired certain plot elements in his novels. The biggest mystery in these books--an enigmatic substance called Dust--comes right out of current debates among scientists and philosophers about the origins of consciousness and the provocative theory of panpsychism.


Is Matter Conscious? - Issue 82: Panpsychism

Nautilus

The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will. Astronomers wonder what dark matter is, geologists seek the origins of life, and biologists try to understand cancer--all difficult problems, of course, yet at least we have some idea of how to go about investigating them and rough conceptions of what their solutions could look like. Our first-person experience, on the other hand, lies beyond the traditional methods of science. Following the philosopher David Chalmers, we call it the hard problem of consciousness. But perhaps consciousness is not uniquely troublesome. Going back to Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, philosophers of science have struggled with a lesser known, but equally hard, problem of matter. What is physical matter in and of itself, behind the mathematical structure described by physics?


I'm A Rock, Therefore I Am • DaisyDaisy

#artificialintelligence

While we debate about if and how AI will ever gain consciousness, what if everything in the universe is already sentient? The thinking dates back to the ancient Greeks and a term called panpsychism, which means "everything has a mind/soul," and it was described as some shared, animating force that made all living things alive. Bohm saw consciousness itself distributed "in" the level of individual cells, and therefrom extended "out" to a non-local expanded explicate order. Embedding consciousness in material science is music to the ears of thinkers who believe that there's no mind as something separate from the brain (dualists who oppose this thinking believe that minds exist somewhere and somehow above or beyond flesh and bone). Materialists believe that awareness of self and the world at large is produced by the function of complex biological systems, but we just don't yet know how.


Consciousness and Automated Reasoning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper aims at demonstrating how a first-order logic reasoning system in combination with a large knowledge base can be understood as an artificial consciousness system. For this we review some aspects from the area of philosophy of mind and in particular Baars' Global Workspace Theory. This will be applied to the reasoning system Hyper with ConceptNet as a knowledge base. Finally we demonstrate that such a system is very well able to do conscious mind wandering.


The Rainforest Is Teeming with Consciousness - Issue 78: Atmospheres

Nautilus

Since 1980, the temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the acidification of oceans. In 2015, 175 million more people were exposed to heat waves compared with the average for 1986 to 2008, and the number of weather-related disasters from 2007 to 2016 was up by 46 percent compared with the average from 1990 to 1999. This is nothing in comparison to the horrors that await us as temperatures continue to rise. According to recent projections, global temperatures are set to increase by 3.2 degrees by the end of century. This will lock in sea level rises that will mean that the cities, towns, and villages currently occupied by 175 million people--including Hong Kong and Miami--will eventually be underwater. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that warming is largely caused by the actions of human beings.


The idea that everything from spoons to stones is conscious is gaining academic credibility

#artificialintelligence

This sounds like easily-dismissible bunkum, but as traditional attempts to explain consciousness continue to fail, the "panpsychist" view is increasingly being taken seriously by credible philosophers, neuroscientists, and physicists, including figures such as neuroscientist Christof Koch and physicist Roger Penrose. "Why should we think common sense is a good guide to what the universe is like?" says Philip Goff, a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. "Einstein tells us weird things about the nature of time that counters common sense; quantum mechanics runs counter to common sense. David Chalmers, a philosophy of mind professor at New York University, laid out the "hard problem of consciousness" in 1995, demonstrating that there was still no answer to the question of what causes consciousness. Traditionally, two dominant perspectives, materialism and dualism, have provided a framework for solving this problem.