In a recent episode of Closer to Truth, Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviewed University of California cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman on a challenging topic, “Why did consciousness emerge? (7:41 min, December 10, 2022): There was a time when there was no consciousness in our universe. Now there is. What caused consciousness to emerge? Did consciousness develop in the same way that, say, the liver or the eye developed, by random mutation and fitness selection during evolution? Inner experience seems to be radically different from anything else. Are we fooling ourselves? Donald Hoffman is the author of Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See and coauthor of Observer Mechanics: A Formal Theory Of Perception (Norton, 2000) A partial transcript and some Read More ›
This story was #9 in 2022 at Mind Matters News in terms of reader numbers. As we approach the New Year, we are rerunning the top ten Mind Matters News stories of 2022, based on reader interest. Here’s #9, from our news division, for those of us who like pondering the deeper things: Schrödinger believed that there was only one Mind in the universe: Consciousness researcher Robert Prentner and cognitive psychologist will tell a prestigious music and philosophy festival in London next month that great physicist Donald Hoffman, quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) believed that “The total number of minds in the universe is one.” That is, a universal Mind accounts for everything. In a world where many scientists strive mightily to explain how the human Read More ›
Consciousness researcher Robert Prentner and cognitive psychologist will tell a prestigious music and philosophy festival in London next month that great physicist Donald Hoffman, quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) believed that “The total number of minds in the universe is one.” That is, a universal Mind accounts for everything. In a world where many scientists strive mightily to explain how the human mind can arise from non-living matter, Prentner and Hoffman will tell the HowtheLightGetsIn festival in London (September 17–18, 2022) that the author of the famous Cat paradox was hardly a materialist: In 1925, just a few months before Schrödinger discovered the most basic equation of quantum mechanics, he wrote down the first sketches of the ideas that he Read More ›
Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–2013) share the credit, technically, for the theory of evolution by natural selection but Darwin became the icon. One reason they parted ways was that Wallace did not agree with Darwin that the human mind was simply an organ that evolved naturally, like any other. There had to be something more to it. Philosopher Neil Thomas explains: In his older years Wallace came to reject natural selection as an explanation for the unfurling of all human and even animal life. By then he had transitioned towards the espousal of a form of natural theology; but his initial and gravest misgiving in the 1860s was focused four-square on the mystery of how the human Read More ›
In last week’s Mind Matters News podcast, “Hinduism, Metaphysics, and Free Will,” neurosurgeon Michael Egnor again interviews Arjuna Gallagher, a Hindu in New Zealand. (The earlier podcast was Hinduism, Reincarnation, and the Mind–Body Problem.) Gallagher hosts a YouTube channel called Theology Unleashed, which has featured many guests discussing the spiritual dimension of our lives — philosopher David Bentley Hart, neuroscientist Mark Solms, atheist Matt Dillahunty… a variety of voices on the spiritual life. Gallagher has also produced a documentary, The Persecuted Saints You’ve Never Heard Of about the persecution of Orthodox Christian monks. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/03/Mind-Matters-News-Episode-178-Arjuna-Gallagher-Episode-2-rev1.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow: Michael Egnor: In our last session, we talked a little bit about the evolutionary argument against Read More ›
Rigorous naturalism, taken seriously, brought us to this place where illusion calls to illusion about things that can, by definition, have no meaning. There is no other place naturalism can bring us to.