John R Searle is the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley. His work ranges broadly over philosophical problems of mind and language. He received the Jean Nicod Prize in 2000; the National Humanities Medal in 2004; and the Mind & Brain Prize in 2006. Among his notable concepts is the “Chinese room” argument against “strong” artificial intelligence.
“I don’t think there’s a hard problem, I think the hard problem is an illusion that comes about because of the way we wrongly think about consciousness,” Dr Susan Blackmore explains in this exclusive interview. A freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, her research interests include memes, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. Her many publications include The Meme Machine; Conversations on Consciousness; Zen and the Art of Consciousness; and Consciousness- An Introduction.
As an artist, Julia Buntaine is interested in what has proven to be the most complex puzzle, the epitome of emergence, the deepest well our sciences have examined; the brain. The instantiation of form and function united, from the molecular to the level of Neuroscience as a discipline, her work seeks to address the beliefs, theories and findings of the biological phenomenon of consciousness. Beginning with biological form or data, her work departs into the world of aesthetics as she manipulates the idea through the use of scale, metaphor, material and form. Unlike articles and raw data, scientific ideas in the form of art inherently demand subjective judgment and interpretation, and her goal as a science-based artist is to provide the viewer an alternative way to understand the wonders of biology we have discovered in ourselves.
Questions: Why is it so difficult to understand consciousness? What can be done to understand it better?
Film Director, David Cronenberg, leads us into the future of human bio implants with BMC Labs.
Halfway through his PhD program in neuroscience at UPenn, Greg Dunn was inspired to try a new experiment: using the brain structures he was seeing in the lab as the subject matter for his minimalist Asian-inspired paintings. When he finished his Ph.D, he bought himself a sensory deprivation tank as a graduation present. The gift marked a major life transition, from the world of science to a life of meditation and art.
In this essay I intend to demonstrate how cognitive science, which stands at the crossroads of the natural sciences and the human sciences, has adopted an “objectivist” perspective on cognition that unnecessarily limits our understanding of the human mind; and I shall conclude with a prolegomenon to understanding the nature of consciousness and its causal efficacy.
Cynthia Sue Larson Interviews Seán Ó Nualláin
For the first time, an author with peer-reviewed published work in neuroscience, comparative religion, theoretical biology and many facets of cognitive science takes on the Big Issues of science and religion, as well as the current paralysis in real innovation. Seán Ó Nualláin’s latest book, One Magisterium, is here reviewed by the eminent scientist and thinker, Stuart Kauffman.
Experimental philosophy is an emerging field of philosophical inquiry that makes use of empirical data—often gathered through surveys which probe the intuitions of ordinary people—in order to inform research on philosophical questions. In this exclusive interview Joshua Knobe discusses this new and exciting philosophy, its scope and its limits, and whether or not it is an elephant.