“A Martian scientist with no understanding of visual perception could understand the rainbow, or lightning, or clouds as physical phenomena, though he would never be able to understand the human concepts of rainbow, lighting, or cloud, or the place these things occupy in our phenomenal world.”
In this episode of Made You Think, Neil and Nat critically discuss the article What Is It Like to Be a Bat? by Thomas Nagel. This is the most famous piece on the mind-body problem. In it Nagel explores the mind-body issue, freedom, knowledge, meaning and value of human life. This article was penned down at an era where physicalism and materialism were prevalent, the idea that you can reduce all aspects of the mind to simply firings in the brain. However, Nagel was unpersuaded that physicalism of materialism gives an all-encompassing account of human experience.
“Without consciousness the mind-body problem would be much less interesting with consciousness it seems hopeless.”
We cover a wide range of topics, including
The mind-body consciousness problem Creating an objective interpretations of reality. Learning skills to overcome reporters biases Consciousness in animals Artificial intelligence (AI) and hacking of consciousness And much more. Please enjoy, and be sure to grab a copy of What Is It Like to Be a Bat? by Thomas Nagel!
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out our book episodes on consciousness like Godel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, Sapiens by Yuval Harari, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett, and The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch.
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Links from the Episode Mentioned in the show The Beginning of Infinity on Wikipedia [04:52] (book episode) Pod Save America Podcast [19:20] HARO Help A Reporter Out [22:14] Fox News [23:30] CNBC [23:30] Turing Test [30:53] Chinese Room [31:13] Chess [32:00] Go game [32:40] Watson AI [39:53] Joe Rogan interviews Elon Musk [47:34] The Man in the High Castle Television TV series [54:08] Hardcore History ep 62 – Supernova in the East I [54:42] Books mentioned What it is to be like a bat? By Thomas Nagel Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter [00:39] (Nat’s notes) (book episode) Way of Zen by Alan Watts [01:02] (Nat’s notes) (Neil’s notes) (book episode) Homo Deus by Yuval Harari [01:06] (Nat’s notes) (book episode) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett [1:11] (book episode) The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch [01:16] (book episode) The Riddle of the Gun by Sam Harris [16:53] (article episode) How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff [24:30] The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson [36:08] (Neil’s notes) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari [56:40] (Nat’s notes) (book episode part 1 & part 2) Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday [23:01] The Man in the High Castle Novel by Philip K. Dick [54:08] Plato's Republic [20:10] People mentioned David Deutsch [05:25] (Infinity episode) Daniel Dennett [08:25] (Darwin’s episode) Bobby McMullen – Blind Bike Rider [09:44] Donald Trump [12:23] Charles Darwin [30:15] Pepper the Poochon [33:40] Sam Harris [37:19] (Guns episode) Yuval Noah Harari [37:19] Douglas Hofstadter [43:36] Nick Bostrom [43:53] Karl Marx [46:02] Elon Musk [47:34] (on this podcast) Hiroo Onoda [55:17] Show Topics 01:00 – Consciousness. The article is about the theory of mind and consciousness, looking into the mind-body problem. Aspects of the mind can be linked to how the brain responds.
01:58 – Challenge to physicalism rather than refute reductionism. Reductionism and physicalism cannot be fully understood; thus, making these two theories flawed.
“Every reductionist has his favorite analogy for modern science. It is most unlikely that any of these unrelated examples of successful reduction will shed light on the relation of mind to brain