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.)
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
Halloween Special! The Purpose of the Universe
Keith and Philip will discuss Philip's new book 'Why? The Purpose of the Universe.' https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Purpose-Universe-Philip-Goff/dp/0198883765
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
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.
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.
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).
Great to listen to civil philosophical debate. Whether you follow everything or not you’ll learn about the art of argument and learning.