Can Science Explain Consciousness?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
4M ago
New post on my Substack: https://philipgoff.substack.com/p/can-science-explain-consciousness ..read more
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Can Science Explain Consciousness?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
4M ago
New post on my Substack: https://philipgoff.substack.com/p/can-science-explain-consciousness ..read more
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Is Consciousness an Illusion?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
1y ago
I’ve just started a Substack, which I’m going to use instead of this blog. Please do subscribe to it. Here is my first post: https://philipgoff.substack.com/p/is-consciousness-an-illusion ..read more
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Are Roses Really Red?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
Photo by Milly Sime on Unsplash I’m grateful to Edward Feser for commenting on my work. We share a common starting point, namely our conviction that the qualities we encounter in experience cannot be fully accounted for in the purely quantitative terms of physical science, and hence that our conventional scientific worldview misses something out. But we disagree on how to rectify this error. I agree with Galileo (ironic, given the title of my book) that the qualities aren’t really out there in the world but exist only in consciousness. So I don’t think we need to account for the redness of the ..read more
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More on Fine-Tuning & the Multiverse
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
I’ve thought of a simpler way of making the argument from my last post. Suppose Jack is the defendant, and the lawyer for the prosecution shares with the jury that Jack carries a knife around with him. In fact, as the lawyer for the prosecution well knows, Jack carries a butter knife around with him, but the lawyer chooses not to share this detail. Obviously the jury are going to be misled. It’s not that they’ve been told a lie: it’s true that Jack carries a knife around with him. The lawyer has misled the jury by giving them a less ‘filled in’ account of the evidence than is available. This e ..read more
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Why the Multiverse Can’t Explain Fine-Tuning
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
A startling discovery of recent decades is that the laws of physics are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. That is to say, for life to be possible, certain numbers in physics had to fall in a certain narrow range. Some scientists and philosophers try to explain this by postulating an enormous number of universes, exemplifying a huge range of different numbers in their physics, making it statistically likely that at least one will have the right numbers for life by chance. The trouble is that this kind of inference is fallacious; specifically, it commits the inverse gambler’s fallacy. Here ..read more
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Can You Prove a Miracle?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
I’m currently taking a week off work, having submitted a draft of my book manuscript (‘The Purpose of Existence: Between God and Atheism’). Sometimes when I take time off, I get lost in a rabbit hole or two. On Easter Sunday, I listened to a debate on my favourite Christian vs. Atheist debate podcast on whether you could demonstrate historically that Jesus rose from the dead. I Tweeted brief thoughts about this, and someone tweeted back at me about a recent six-hour debate on this topic by atheist New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman and Christian New Testament scholar Mike Lacona. I ended up pay ..read more
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Are There Objective Values?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
A lot of my Twitter debating time recently has been spent defending the claim that there are facts about value that hold independent of our desires. The example I always press is that there is an objective distinction between things that are worth doing (e.g. pursuing pleasure, learning, being creative) and things that are pointless (e.g. counting blades of grass, for its own sake, when you don’t enjoy it or get any further good from it). In order to set out my case and debate it a bit, I cheekily invited myself on Kane B’s YouTube channel (he has the opposing view) and we had a really good ch ..read more
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A Surprise Point of Agreement With Sean Carroll
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
I’ve had some great philosophical interactions with Sean Carroll, of late. I was on Sean’s podcast a while back, and more recently he kindly contributed to a volume of essays responding to my book Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness (I counter-responded to all of the essays, including Sean’s, here). We then debated this for three hours on the Mind Chat podcast I host with Keith Frankish. Finally, Sean wrote this blog post summarising his reflections on the Mind Chat discussion. At the end of the post, Sean conceded that, if panpsychism is true, consciousness underli ..read more
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Can Calculators Add? Can Brains Add?
Conscience and Consciousness
by Philip Goff
2y ago
Suppose you had a rubbish that calculator that could only deal with numbers below 100. Assuming that, apart from that limitation, it behaved as calculators normally behave, you’d naturally interpret it as performing the addition function when you type in ‘1+1’ and get the answer ‘2’. But is it? Consider the following mathematical function, which, following the philosopher Saul Kripke, I will call ‘quus’: QUUS: The quus function is just like the plus function when the numbers inputted are below 100, but when any of the numbers inputted are above 100, the output of the function is 5. Given that ..read more
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