Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Max Planck on consciousness

 I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

Max Planck

Monday, September 11, 2023

Is Introspection worthless?

From Patricia Churchland.  

The brains in our skulls function as they do largely because they are the product of a long evolutionary history. That fact is, of course, not a fact the brain's biological evolution gave it automatic knowledge of; rather, it is something brains have learned as a result of a long period of scientific evolution. Introspection reveals almost nothing about how nervous systems work, and from an evolutionary perspective, there is no reason why it should. If anything, human brains have a positive tendency to be misled about their nature. They tend to suppose they are not part of the biological order, that they are the result of special creation, that nervous tissue itself is not relevant to the understanding of the mind, and that introspection yields incontrovertible truths about a nonphysical mind, about the nature of free will, experience, knowledge, meaning, and language. What the evolutionary and neurobiological perspective makes evident, however, is that to understand how the brain works, introspection is unreliable. Rather, we must do experiments addressing a variety of levels of organization, and we must engage in real theorizing about how the brain functions