Unsupervised Thinking
a podcast about neuroscience, artificial intelligence and science more broadly

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Episode 23: What Can Neuroscience Say About Consciousness?

For this episode, we try to de-thorn one of the thorniest topics in neuroscience: consciousness! Starting with the (not so) simple task of defining the c-word, we first lay out our own definitions but end up relying on the work of philosopher David Chalmers (easy and hard problems of consciousness, philosophical zombies). Then, after establishing the myriad of reasons why science can't actually study consciousness, we get into its attempts to do so. Specifically, we talk about studies on anaesthesia and the role of optical illusions in probing conscious perception. After that we go through a laundry list of all kinds of theories/models of consciousness put forth by neuroscientists, psychologists, and (ugh) physicists. Throughout, Josh complains about people saying they have "heightened consciousness",  Conor advocates a lot of drug use (for science), and we discuss the politics of urination. If you're confused by any of this, no worries, Conor is too.

We read:
Scholarpedia: Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness
Scholarpedia: Models of Consciousness 

Neural Correlates of Consciousness (sensory paper by Rees)

Neural correlates of consciousness during general anesthesia using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

And mentioned:
20 Years of ASSC: are we ready for its coming of age? (thanks to @tweetsatpreet for pointing us to this journal)

To listen to (or download) this episode, (right) click here.

As always, our jazzy theme music "Quirky Dog" is courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 

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