Questions tagged [philosophy-of-mind]

For questions about this branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, consciousness and their relationship to neurobiology.

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42
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6answers
47k views

Why would the brain flip the images perceived by your eyes?

The following is a common scientific statement, which you don't have to google long for to find: The eye views images upside-down in the manner of a camera lens, but our brains reinterpret this ...
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2answers
2k views

Does language and/or culture affect an individual's cognitive capacity?

Some languages have multiple expressions to identify, address, comprehend, and interpret a single concept and/or experience. Are limits placed on understanding and describing aspects of cognition due ...
22
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3answers
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What, if anything, sets humans apart from other species?

As I grew up, I was taught that the difference between humans and animals was that human beings have free will and animals do not. The basis is that animals will act accordingly to the nature of their ...
19
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3answers
16k views

Is it possible to run multiple thought processes concurrently?

For example, let's say I have a friend sprinting a 50m distance and that friend wants me to time the race, but I don't have a stopwatch so I have to count "manually". Can I count while simultaneously ...
19
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1answer
652 views

Is there a region of cortex which over a period of development becomes the seat of self?

Background Mountcastle's hypothesis, which is based on the observation of uniform cortical anatomy, suggests that the there might be a uniform cortical "algorithm". The only reason that some cortical ...
18
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4answers
4k views

Is there evidence that brain and mind are separate?

I've heard countless discussions about whether or not the mind is separate from the brain, but they have all been philosophical. I am looking for peer-reviewed studies that suggest the mind is not ...
18
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3answers
963 views

Is it possible for certain people to perceive colors differently?

What if someone perceives a color as 'red' when it is actually 'green'? Since different people have preferences for different colors, and colors are perhaps constructed in the mind, is it possible ...
16
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1answer
858 views

Cultural brain hypothesis and gene-culture co-evolution

Recently, Joseph Henrich of UBC has been promoting his cultural brain hypothesis. The goal is to explain a selection pressure behind the development of the human brain and general intelligence. The ...
12
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2answers
312 views

Can the Philosophy thought game “The experience machine” be answered by Positive Psychology?

In Philosophy, a thought game exists called "The experience machine" {1}. In summary, it's a machine you plug into that enables you to always experience positive events, and never negative ones. One ...
11
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4answers
7k views

Why do humans need emotions?

If the emotions' only purpose is to stimulate certain behavior, why can't this task just as effectively, or even more effectively be done by the reasoning part of the brain? Are emotions really ...
11
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1answer
161 views

Is a network of neurons the only factor in memory?

Background I'm actually writing a science fiction novel set a couple decades in the future. Brains are not my field. I've done as much research as I could. In the story, the protagonist finds out he ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Can one “understand” emotions, yet not “feel” them?

Prometheus Viral Clip #3 - David is a good clip of a fictional character in a science-fiction movie that helps frame my question; but I am interested in the general question, not the specifics of this ...
10
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8answers
2k views

Can the mind affect the physical brain? - a simple thought experiment

Scientists maintain that "a physical action requires a physical cause". However, if I am in deep thought about my dead spouse, for example, and a tear comes to my eye, how is it that the mind (thought)...
10
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1answer
803 views

Why aren't Connectionism and Dynamicism considered part of the Computational Theory of the Mind?

In the Wikipedia article for Computational Theory of the Mind (NOT to be confused with Computational Representational Understanding of Mind which includes Connectionism), it is mentioned that ...
10
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4answers
509 views

Can scientific evidence support concepts of the soul?

In some spiritual premises, the soul is said to belong to the Almighty. Religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism) all talk about cleansing our inner being because only when it's pure, its actual ...
10
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1answer
209 views

How does evolution help in Minsky's theory of a resourceful mind?

I've read Minsky's book The Emotion Machine, where he explains how the mind can be seen as a set of resources interacting and self-interacting based on several levels of change. The explanation is in ...
9
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2answers
3k views

What is the most comprehensive system of describing human emotions or states of mind?

Reading about the human mind, I sometimes come across attempts to classify human emotions using various scales. The one that comes to mind most often is the 6 scale circle model shown below. Is ...
9
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5answers
1k views

Is it possible for humans to conceive of being dead?

I am reading Stephen Cave's book Immortality, and one of the claims he makes early on is that there is a "mortality paradox." This is the phenomenon that humans know that they will die (based on ...
9
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1answer
285 views

Is performance reducible to brain activity in an unambiguous way?

As a preface, let me assume that the entirety of mental states and their corresponding behaviors in a person are entirely reducible to the physical activity of neurons sending a variety of chemicals ...
9
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1answer
385 views

The mind as a state of matter or physical system?

What examples of attempts to formalize a principled physical basis for consciousness and/or a general theory of the mind exist? I read a fascinating ArXiV preprint last year called Consciousness as a ...
9
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2answers
7k views

Can curiosity be described as an emotion?

Can curiosity be described as an emotion? On one hand it is definitely an emotion in the sense that is a feeling. IT feels like you want to know something. Furthermore, it can be pleasant or ...
9
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1answer
159 views

Any attempts at testing or modeling the 'cognitive conception' of language?

For those unfamiliar, the 'cognitive conception of language' refers to a claim made by some theorists that, in the words of Carruthers: "besides its obvious communicative functions, language ...
8
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3answers
48k views

Is there a term to describe an inability to express emotion or feelings?

I am writing a novel and was wondering if there was a specific term for someone unable to express his own emotions or feelings. The catch here is, this doesn't mean he doesn't know what anger or love ...
8
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2answers
166 views

Is it possible to create artificial thoughts in a childs mind

What I mean is, is it possible to create memories in a childs mind, memories which a child grows up to remember as real events, when infact those events never happened in real life? For example: If ...
8
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5answers
284 views

Is there any evidence that language is the limit of the world?

Philosopher Wittgenstein says that "the limit of my language means the limit of my world". One theory that supports this statement is that people couldn't see the blue colour until they have the word ...
8
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1answer
186 views

Has the inverted spectrum thought experiment ever been conducted (and if not, why)?

The inverted spectrum thought experiment posits that you (the subject) wake up one morning to find that your colour spectrum (or some part of it anyway) has inverted. This experiment has important ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Where is the visual “image” that we “see” finally assembled?

David Hubel's online book, Eye, Brain and Vision describes in great detail our early visual system. The image that we are conscious of when we open our eyes goes through a complex path: The final ...
7
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1answer
117 views

Is there any fMRI evidence for different “states of mind”?

If you've seen a snickers commercial, it goes something like "you are a different person when you are hungry". I'm interested if the person's brain actually looks different when observed through fMRI ...
7
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1answer
102 views

Why is IIT “unmotivated”?

I'm trying to understand Searle's reply to Tononi and Koch's objections to Searle's characterization of their Intergrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness. Although I do understand why IIT ...
6
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3answers
442 views

Theoretical limit to the use of mental faculty of the brain

A lot of articles stress the importance of having to train the brain (By training the brain, I mean the cognitive faculty of the brain for learning things and not brain's normal functions) since the ...
6
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3answers
261 views

How much information is lost when conveying an experience or emotion to another person?

Certain languages have words that do not literally translate into any another language. There is already a small loss of information in this sense. Emotions are a personal experience and the ...
6
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1answer
133 views

Are there any studies (fMRI scans, etc) showing why some people (supposedly) are more open to hypnotism?

In this article published in Harper's magazine back in 1996, journalist David Foster Wallace described his experience with hypnotist Nigel Ellery (see the last section of the article, titled "THE ...
5
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2answers
1k views

How does subjective experience arise from matter?

Forgive me for lacking rigor, but if what I know is correct, it is established that consciousness and other higher functions characteristic of humans are a consequence of our cortex, specifically ...
5
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3answers
355 views

How can machine possibly possess consciousness if computation is a human idea?

Suppose a computer simulates a human brain so that it passes the Turing test. Suppose that this brain is given sensory stimuli that correspond to an experience of being in an Earth-like world. From ...
5
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1answer
314 views

Is volition a reality or an illusion?

Keeping religious sentiments aside, here is a question raised on the Buddhism SE that attempts to answer a similar question from the Buddhist point of view. You see, Buddhism has a concept of anatman ...
5
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2answers
342 views

Does each sensory neuron type have a characteristic spike sequence pattern?

Background It is known that all sensory information is input to the brain as neural spike sequences. Now, to distinguish between the spike sequences generated by retinal red/blue/green cone cells from ...
5
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1answer
102 views

Differentiations of Imposter Syndrome

How can Imposter Syndrome be differentiated from actually possessing its symptoms? For example, one of the symptoms is the feeling that the person does not possesses extra intelligence, but that they ...
4
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3answers
418 views

Is prior experience necessary to perceive the Kanizsa triangle illusion?

We know the Kanizsa Triangle. Kanizsa Triangle I was socialized in a "western" world, where I learned mathematics for about 13 years; I have designed products surrounding me using geometric forms ...
4
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2answers
110 views

Are action potentials necessary for experience?

We know that, for example, during brain surgery, electrical stimulation in certain parts of the cortex is sufficient for experience, and result in reportable experiences in human subjects. We also ...
4
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1answer
268 views

Is consciousness a sub product of the brain or is there a duality? [duplicate]

I am trying to understand what consciousness is, based on my basic knowledge of our senses, artificial intelligence (computer vision, specifically) and some philosophy. Here's my reasoning: As far as ...
4
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0answers
405 views

Why do we dream of unattainable wishes being satisfied in dreams? [closed]

We want many things that we might never achieve or attain in real life. Often we dream, that we have these things. What is the psychological function of this type of dream? How does the satisfaction ...
3
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1answer
133 views

What introductory material is available linking complexity theory to cognitive science?

Does complexity theory speak to cognitive science? If yes, where can I find some material to explore that is suitable for undergraduate level understanding? In particular, is there any audio contennt ...
3
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3answers
191 views

Disprove that Humans are selfish

Psychological egoism, can anyone provide an everyday action which a healthy human mind would carry out which doesn't have the motive of preservation of the individuals own life at heart? For example, ...
3
votes
3answers
180 views

What is a scientifically plausible method by which people might in the future be able to read minds? [closed]

I am writing a book. It will be post-apocalyptic, and the apocalypse I'm thinking of will involve people being able to read each other's mind. Can any of you give me a slightly plausible reason that ...
3
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2answers
205 views

Can a biological entity be thought as a simple algorithm? Case-study with the concept of randomness

John Von Neuman believed that all organisms can be though of as information-processing systems. He built on the work of Alan Turing (algorithmic) to create simulations of biological entities. This ...
3
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1answer
382 views

Why do our senses evoke different subjective experiences

I'm wondering why there are different subjective experiences when our sensor systems are technically the same neurons that just get excited by different stuff (photons, soundwaves, ...). So why does ...
3
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1answer
304 views

How does the physical brain know about qualia?

Qualia are phenomenological (the subjective experience of the physical activity of the brain). But how does phenomenology feed back into the activity of the brain? That is, how can the physical ...
3
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1answer
204 views

Is meaning-seeking behavior a biological optimization problem?

In short, I'm interested in cognitive, neuroscientific, biological and/or computational perspectives on what we vaguely refer to as meaning seeking. Of course, this is a large topic, but any ...
3
votes
1answer
362 views

How and why can movies take us out of our everyday physical reality and into a fantasy world?

Have you ever experienced that feeling after watching a really great movie (somewhat like a dramatic one) that after watching the movie, you got carried away? Even though the movie ended well in a ...
3
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1answer
83 views

Does the informational content of the mind determine its structure?

I have been thinking for several years that maybe the mind could be described as a space, in the mathematical sense, of information and that similarly to the relativistic case of the spacetime whose ...