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TagBlindsight

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Paint can and brush on red background, top view

Angus Menuge Explains Why “Red” Is Such a Problem in Philosophy

“Red” is an example of qualia, concepts we can experience that have no physical existence otherwise

In philosopher Angus Menuge‘s second podcast with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, the big topic is the perennial Hard Problem of consciousness and various proposed solutions. Menuge, who is chair of philosophy at Concordia University, talks about some of the ways consciousness is hard to pin down and why it doesn’t follow the rules we might expect in a fully material universe: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 01:01 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks (pictured): There is a lot of research happening in modeling consciousness. Panpsychism, quantum consciousness, and integrated information theory (IIT) are examples of consciousness models that have been getting a lot of press and visibility lately… So first,…

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Young blind man with white cane and guide dog sitting in park in city.

The Mystery of Blindsight Helps Us Understand the Mind Better

How can a blind person demonstrate awareness of an object in his visual field — and yet not be conscious of it?

Blindsight is the remarkable ability of some blind people to sense objects that they cannot actually see. It occurs when the blindness is caused by damage to the main part of the brain that processes visual information (the striate cortex). But the eyes themselves are intact. The eyes continue to see (sensation) but nothing is receiving the messages (perception). Or so we would think, except for this: One of the most contentious discussions in philosophy of mind and neuroscience is the nature of perception as opposed to sensation. How can we perceive objects in our environment? On a deeper level, what do we mean by “perception”? In what ways does perception differ from sensation, if at all? The neurobiology of…

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Eye close up

What if only part — not all — of your brain were transplanted?

You might end up seeing double out of an eye a thousand miles away

Recently, we’ve been discussing the concept of total or partial human brain transplants. What about transplanting an eye and the parts of the visual cortex it needs from one person to another? Which of the two people would be seeing out of that eye? The answer is not simple. As noted earlier, researchers may never succeed in transplanting both an eye and the hemisphere brain parts that the eye needs to function from one human being to another. But let’s assume a science fiction scenario — a thought experiment — in which there is an exchange. Jack gets Mary’s right eye/hemisphere and Mary gets Jack’s right eye/hemisphere. Both parties, who live on different parts of the planet, survive. For simplicity,…

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Person's face with eyes obstructed by hands

High Tech Can Help the Blind See and Amputees Feel

It’s not a miracle; the human nervous system can work with electronic information

The electronic devices communicate directly with sensory areas of the brain, bypassing damaged or destroyed eyes and limbs. 

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