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Category: consciousness

Moving toward the Consciousness [Prime Mover]

What is a memory?

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Today I want to talk about memory, and what’s wrong with some of our standard conceptions of how memory works, and even fundamentally what memory is. If you open up a brain and look inside it you won’t see any memories. You don’t open up a neuron as if it was a storage container and memories come spilling out. What about a network of them makes this story any different? How the heck changes in the strength of connections between cells cause a memory to be stored and experienced later is not something cognitive science has been able to address yet.


Language Acquisition and Development

In my last post I discussed the problem of the Chinese Room, which is a way to think about language use and human cognition. The thrust of the argument is that seemingly intelligent behavior does not necessitate conscious understanding or awareness. If a program, or a robot, or an english speaking human locked inside a…


Human Cognition and the Chinese Room

Today I’m going to use a famous philosophical thought experiment to help elucidate one of the most significant problems in cognitive science. Before I get into it though, let me set the stage. There are various competing theories of cognition in the field of cognitive science. Some explain human cognition and thought through the manipulation…


What we miss in the free will debate

I’ve written about free will a few times on this blog, and anyone who’s familiar with these writings will know I’m very critical of most conceptions of free will (Link 1, Link 2). And yet I also feel like we often are missing something really important when engaging in this debate. Let’s not forget what…


This Still Isn’t Free Will!

The BBC recently published a story about some research about free will, and I am yet again struck by the naive conceptions of free will so many of us have. The article discusses research that as far as I can tell claims that animals, even simple ones, have a range of options available to them,…


Time, Memory, and Consciousness

As we go through life it feels as if we live in an ever-present “now”. We are conscious of the present time and no other time. The past is but a memory, and the future is but a dream. But there are some very influential views on the nature of time which in essence state that our experience of time as a continuously extended now is an illusion