The integrated information theory is a promising theory of consciousness. However, there are several problems with IIT's axioms and postulates. Moreover, IIT entails that some twodimensional grids of identical logic gates have more consciousness than humans. Many have found this prediction to be implausible, and as will be argued here, this prediction also exacerbates the so-called 'hard problem of consciousness'. Recently, it has been argued that if we treat the phenomenological aspects of consciousness as an illusion, we can avoid the (...) hard problem altogether by replacing it with the more tractable illusion problem: the problem of explaining how introspection systematically misrepresents experiences as having phenomenology. IIT is intended to be a theory of the phenomenological aspects of consciousness. However, it is possible to reformulate the axioms and postulates of IIT consistently with illusionism. Here it is argued that the resulting theory -- illusionist integrated information theory -- removes several problems for IIT including the hard problem and the logic gate problem, and also enables meaningful progress for illusionists on solving the illusion problem. (shrink)
Does consciousness collapse the quantum wave function? This idea was taken seriously by John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner but is now widely dismissed. We develop the idea by combining a mathematical theory of consciousness (integrated information theory) with an account of quantum collapse dynamics (continuous spontaneous localization). Simple versions of the theory are falsified by the quantum Zeno effect, but more complex versions remain compatible with empirical evidence. In principle, versions of the theory can be tested by experiments with (...) quantum computers. The upshot is not that consciousness-collapse interpretations are clearly correct, but that there is a research program here worth exploring. (shrink)
A familiar interpretation of quantum mechanics (one of a number of views sometimes labeled the "Copenhagen interpretation'"), takes its empirical apparatus at face value, holding that the quantum wave function evolves by the Schrödinger equation except on certain occasions of measurement, when it collapses into a new state according to the Born rule. This interpretation is widely rejected, primarily because it faces the measurement problem: "measurement" is too imprecise for use in a fundamental physical theory. We argue that this is (...) a weak objection, as there may be many ways of making "measurement" precise. However, measurement-collapse interpretations face a more serious objection: a dilemma tied to the quantum Zeno effect. Is measurement itself an observable that can enter superpositions? If yes, then the standard measurement-collapse dynamics is ill-defined. If no, then (at least if measurement is an observable), measurements can never start or finish. The best way out is to deny that measurement is an observable, but this leads to strong and revisionary consequences. This reinforces the view that there is no nonrevisionary interpretation of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Basing his detailed exposition of Barth's understanding of our knowledge of the divine existence chiefly on volume II, part 1 of the Church Dogmatics, this American Catholic scholar exhibits the thorough-going consistency of Barth's exclusively a prioristic approach, while indicating some fundamental difficulties for it, and arguing the superiority of the Thomist position. One of the fundamental issues discussed is whether God discloses himself only through special, "vertical" acts of grace, or whether, as the Thomists affirm, the abstractive power of (...) the intellect, itself a gift of God, may not apprehend the radical dependence of all finite things on a first, unique, cause. The critical problem is whether or not the perfect certitude of faith demands a "sacrifice of the intellect," as Barth seems to contend.--P. K. J. (shrink)
By studying afresh the "act of explanation," the author hopes to achieve a reconciliation of diverse methodologies. Man's own personal being is to be taken as the clue to the nature of our "ultimate explanatory forms."--P. K. J.
These ten essays by members of the Pennsylvania State University Philosophy Department are written in a sophisticated style, and range over problems in metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. They bear out the authors' claim to be "united by nothing more than a sense of the importance and mission of a philosophy which assumes its total responsibilities" and an interest in the classical traditions of Western philosophy.--P. K. J.
Collected in this volume are nine of Ayer's recent essays, four of which have not been published before. The essays deal with various philosophic issues: the impossibility of a "neutral" record of facts, the need of linguistic philosophy to take on some of the bigger questions, the possibility of a private language, the ultimate authority of private experience, the status of psycho-physical relations, the subtle relations between names and descriptions, truth, the logic of probability, fatalism and others. Where issues are (...) not treated exhaustively, they are treated suggestively. Good reading for anyone interested in present turns in analytical philosophy.—K. J. (shrink)
A splendid introduction to set theory. By leaning heavily on modern logic, Quine develops a substantial amount of set theory axiomatically without either being naive about the antinomies or prejudicing the issue of infinite classes. This development felicitously allows Quine a neutral ground on which, in his concluding chapters, to describe, compare and connect various conflicting full-blooded systems: Russell's theory of types, Zermelo's system, two of Quine's own, and von Neumann's. This treatment of set theory, allowing formalism without sectionalism, is (...) singular and should instruct and delight the theorist as well as the beginning reader.—K. J. (shrink)
A good, down-to-earth, informal introduction to Buddhism for the Westerner. Although favoring the basic teaching of the Theravada school, the author argues for the essential unity of Buddhism and readily recommends Zen practices as aids to the attainment of Enlightenment or the "non-dual."—K. J.
This study aimed to investigate whether a range of tasks that have been generally classed as requiring insight form an empirically separable group of tasks distinct from tasks generally classed as non-insight. In this study, 24 insight tasks, 10 non-insight tasks, and tests of individual differences in cognitive abilities and working memory were administered to 60 participants. Cluster analysis of the problem-solving tasks indicated that the presumed insight problems did tend to cluster with other presumed insight problems, and similarly the (...) presumed non-insight problems tended to cluster with other presumed non-insight tasks. Performance on presumed insight problems was particularly linked to measures of ideational flexibility with a different pattern of results for the non-insight tasks. Spatial insight problems were linked to spatial flexibility and verbal insight tasks were linked to vocabulary scores. The results are discussed in relation to recent developments of dual process theories of thinking. (shrink)
In recent years there has been an upsurge of research aimed at removing the mystery from insight and creative problem solving. The present special issue reflects this expanding field. Overall the papers gathered here converge on a nuanced view of insight and creative thinking as arising from multiple processes that can yield surprising solutions through a mixture of “special” Type 1 processes and “routine” Type 2 processes.
This historical survey of Greek literature from 700 BC to 550 AD concentrates on the principal authors and quotes many passages from their work in translation, to allow the reader to form his own impression of its quality, including Homer, Plato, Aristophanes, and Euripides. Attention is drawn both to the elements in Greek literature and attitudes to life which are unfamiliar to us, and to the elements which appeal most powerfully to succeeding generations. Although it is recognized that this appeal (...) lies above all in the most creative and inventive period, an account is given of the eight hundred years which followed, which saw the impact of earlier inspirations. Poetry, tragedy, comedy, history, science, philosophy, and oratory are all examined through the available literature. This new edition has been revised to take account of recent scholarship, such as the influence of oriental traditions of Greek literature, and includes several new translations and a thoroughly updated bibliography. (shrink)