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Mind Chat

Mind Chat

By Mind Chat with Philip Goff and Keith Frankish

Philip Goff is a philosopher who thinks consciousness pervades the universe. Keith Frankish is a philosopher who thinks consciousness* doesn't even exist. From their very different perspectives, Keith and Philip interview leading scientists and philosophers of consciousness, engaging and debating in a friendly way in pursuit of truth. Mind Chat aims to be highly accessible, allowing those with no background in science and/or philosophy to get a grip on the cutting edge of the field.

(*To be more precise, Keith thinks *phenomenal* consciousness doesn't exist; listen to find out what this is.)
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Helen Steward: Do We Have Free Will?

Mind ChatMar 30, 2022

00:00
02:06:24
Cat Gillen: Do Electrons Exist?

Cat Gillen: Do Electrons Exist?

Recently Philip and Sabine Hossenfelder had a discussion on Twitter about the relationship between science and the entities referred to in scientific theories: https://twitter.com/Philip_Goff/status/1725487476695830778. We're going to interview philosopher of science doctoral candidate Cat Gillen (Durham University) on the debates between realists and instrumentalists in the philosophy of science. To support this podcast, please consider donating to our Patreon, including joining the Mind Chat community that discusses each month's episode with Philip and Keith following the broadcast: https://www.patreon.com/MindChat

Nov 27, 202301:12:24
Halloween Special! The Purpose of the Universe
Nov 06, 202301:39:23
Donald Hoffman: What is Reality?

Donald Hoffman: What is Reality?

Donald Hoffman is a cognitive scientist at UC Irvine and author of 'The Case Against Reality.' He believes that the world we experience is an illusion, whilst ultimate reality is composed of networks of conscious agents. Keith and Philip probe Professor Hoffman's view from their very different perspectives on the nature of consciousness.

Here's the paper we discuss at length which argues that Donald's argument from evolution is self-defeating: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-022-04021-1

Here's Donald's recent co-written paper in which the authors attempt to ground physics in networks of conscious agents: https://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/25/1/129


Jul 25, 202301:59:37
 Eric Schwitzgebel : Is the United States Conscious?

Eric Schwitzgebel : Is the United States Conscious?

Eric Schwitzgebel is professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, moral psychology, classical Chinese philosophy, epistemology, metaphilosophy, and metaphysics. He has also written a number of pieces of philosophical science fiction, which have been published in leading science fiction magazines.

Jul 25, 202301:54:14
 Michelle Liu and Edouard Machery: Is the 'Hard Problem of Consciousness' Nonsense Invented by Philosophers?

Michelle Liu and Edouard Machery: Is the 'Hard Problem of Consciousness' Nonsense Invented by Philosophers?

Many philosophers worry about David Chalmers' 'hard problem' of how brains produce consciousness. But do ordinary people who haven't been exposed to the peculiarities of academic philosopher share Chalmers' intuition that there's a problem here? Professor Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University) answers 'no.' Machery thinks the concept of 'phenomenal consciousness' that gives rise to these intuitions is an invention of academic philosophers, and he's built an empirical case to support his view, based on interviews with the general public. Dr Michelle Liu (University of Hertfordshire-Monash) has responded to the arguments of Machery and others, suggesting they may be ignoring to polysemous nature of language. Keith and Philip will host a friendly debate/discussion between Machery and Liu, whilst trying to resist the temptation to bring the discussion back to panpsychism and illusionism.

Apr 10, 202302:09:15
Frank Jackson: The Greatest Argument Against Materialism

Frank Jackson: The Greatest Argument Against Materialism

Professor Frank Jackson (Australian National University) came up with one of the most influential arguments against materialism about consciousness, a version of the 'knowledge argument', involving the story of Black and White Mary. Ironically, Jackson later recanted and is now a committed materialist. Keith and Philip will discuss with Frank the knowledge argument, why he changed his mind, and what he thinks about consciousness now. (Philip secretly hopes to bring Frank back to the fold of anti-materialists, but it's a long shot).

Apr 10, 202301:56:00
Francois Kammerer and Luke Roelofs: Illusionism or Panpsychism?
Apr 10, 202302:02:39
Noam Chomsky: Chomsky on Consciousness

Noam Chomsky: Chomsky on Consciousness

Noam Chomsky is an intellectual giant, who has made major contributions to linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science. In this episode Keith and Philip explore Professor Chomsky's views on consciousness and the mind.

Streamed live on Sep 15, 2022

Sep 25, 202201:12:42
Angela Mendelovici: How Does Consciousness Connect us to Reality? Part II
Jul 24, 202202:59:09
 Ann-Sophie Barwich: Smellosophy--The Philosophy & Neuroscience of Smell
Jul 23, 202202:24:20
Philip Goff: Is Physics Different in the Brain?

Philip Goff: Is Physics Different in the Brain?

In a special follow-up episode, Philip shares some personal reflections on the recent discussion 'What Does Physics Tell Us About Consciousness?' with Sean Carroll and Barry Loewer.

Jun 28, 202254:19
Sean Carroll and Barry Loewer: What Does Physics Tell Us About Consciousness?
Jun 28, 202202:09:47
Helen Steward: Do We Have Free Will?

Helen Steward: Do We Have Free Will?

Helen Steward is a philosopher and author of Metaphysics for Freedom (Oxford University Press), which argues that agency itself—and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it—is incompatible with determinism. Keith and Philip Mind Chat with Helen about whether we have free will, and what that would entail about the ultimate nature of reality,

Mar 30, 202202:06:24
David Papineau: How Does Consciousness Connect Us To Reality?
Mar 19, 202202:58:43
David Chalmers: Are We Living in a Simulation?

David Chalmers: Are We Living in a Simulation?

David Chalmers is one of the most important and influential philosophers of consciousness on the contemporary scene. He coined the phrase 'the hard problem of consciousness', and defends 'naturalistic dualism' as an alternative to materialism. In his new book 'Reality+', aimed at a general audience, David explores the big questions of philosophy through the lens of virtual reality. He argues that we don't know whether or not we are in a computer simulation, but that even if we are, it doesn't follow that the physical world around is isn't real. It just means the ultimate nature of the physical world is computational!

Feb 25, 202202:49:09
Christmas Special: Panpsychism or Illusionism?

Christmas Special: Panpsychism or Illusionism?

In the Mind Chat Christmas special, Keith and Philip take it in turns to interrogate each other about their favoured view of consciousness (illusionism and panpsychism, respectively), based in part on viewers' questions. The episode will culminate in a 15 min twitter poll, in which viewers will decide once and for all whether panpsychism or illusionism is the correct view of consciousness. 

Dec 16, 202102:47:56
Sean Carroll: Is Consciousness Emergent?

Sean Carroll: Is Consciousness Emergent?

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll joins us to discuss whether it make sense to think of consciousness as an emergent phenomenon, and whether contemporary physics points in this direction.  

We discussed Sean's essay responding to Philip's book 'Galileo's Error,' and Philip's counter-response essay. Both are available here: https://conscienceandconsciousness.com/2021/08/01/19-essays-on-galileos-error/ 

We also discussed Philip's Scientific American article making the case that the move from the fine-tuning to the multiverse commits the 'inverse gambler's fallacy': https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/our-improbable-existence-is-no-evidence-for-a-multiverse/#:~:text=We%20exist%2C%20and%20we%20are,with%20the%20existence%20of%20life.  

Finally, Keith and Philip discussed the PhilPapers 2020 survey of philosophers' opinions on philosophical questions, which is linked to from this blog post of Philip's: https://conscienceandconsciousness.com/2021/11/01/materialism-remains-the-majority-view-but-only-just/

Nov 15, 202103:14:41
Anil Seth: Is Consciousness a Controlled Hallucination?

Anil Seth: Is Consciousness a Controlled Hallucination?

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. In this episode we discuss his new book 'Being You: The New Science of Consciousness.' 

Oct 13, 202101:57:41
Helen Yetter-Chappell: Is Reality Made up of Consciousness?
Oct 11, 202102:04:08
Matthias Michel: Is a Science of Consciousness Possible?

Matthias Michel: Is a Science of Consciousness Possible?

Matthias Michel is a philosopher whose work focuses on the science of consciousness. In a recent paper he outlines how scientists working on consciousness have been having the same debates for 150 years without reaching consensus. In this episode, we will explore why the science of consciousness is more challenging than other scientific endeavours and examine possible ways forward.

Aug 15, 202102:38:54
Christof Koch: The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness

Christof Koch: The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness

Christof Koch is a neuroscientist and proponent of the integrated information theory of consciousness, or 'IIT". In this episode we explore with Christof the science and philosophy of IIT.

Jul 20, 202101:35:49
Janet Levin: The Materialist Theory of Consciousness

Janet Levin: The Materialist Theory of Consciousness

Professor Janet Levin is a materialist about consciousness. She thinks our feelings and experiences are identical with physical processes in the brain. In this episode we will explore Janet's position and how she responds to arguments that try to show that consciousness alludes physical explanation.

Jun 03, 202101:42:27
Tim O'Connor: Interview with a Dualist
May 22, 202101:55:43