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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 282

Anil Seth on the Hard Problem of Consciousness, the Self, and the Essence of Volition

Being You (book cover)

Shermer and Seth discuss:

  • What do words like “mind” and “consciousness” mean in the context of understanding how molecules and matter give rise to such nonmaterial processes?
  • What is a controlled hallucination?
  • the hard problem of consciousness
  • the self and other minds
  • consciousness and self-awareness as emergent properties
  • Where does consciousness go during general anaesthesia? After death?
  • Star Trek TNG episode 138 “Ship in a Bottle”: a VR inside a VR that is indistinguishable from reality. Are we living in a simulation that itself is inside a simulation?
  • Does Deep Blue know that it beat the great Gary Kasparov in chess?
  • Does Watson know that it beat the great Ken Jennings in Jeopardy!?
  • Is Data on Star Trek sentient, conscious, and with feelings?
  • Can AI systems be conscious?
  • free will, determinism, compatibilism, and panpsychism.

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, where he co-directs of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He is also Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Program on Brain, Mind, and Consciousness, and of the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme: From Sensation and Perception to Awareness. Dr. Seth is Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience of Consciousness (Oxford University Press) and he sits on the Editorial Board of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B and on the Advisory Committee for 1907 Research and for Chile’s Congreso Futuro. His new book is Being You: A New Science of Consciousness.

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This episode is sponsored by Wondrium:

Wondrium (sponsor)

This episode was released on June 21, 2022.

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