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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Carl Ginet
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Christine Korsgaard
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
E. H. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
Joseph Fourier
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Stuart Hameroff
Patrick Haggard
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
William Stanley Jevons
Pascual Jordan
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
John von Neumann
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
 
David Chalmers

David Chalmers is a philosopher of mind whose characterization of consciousness as "the hard problem" has set a very high bar for understanding the mind. He says that "the problem of quantum mechanics is almost as hard as the problem of consciousness."

Chalmers describes his position as a naturalistic dualism. He doubts that consciousness can be explained by physical theories, because consciousness is itself not physical. We agree, because all experiences are recorded and reproduced as immaterial information - in both conscious and unconscious playback. But information, while not material, is embodied in the physical. It is a property of the material world.

Chalmers says that the failure of supervenience implies that materialism - as a monistic theory of the complete contents of the world, that there is "nothing but" matter, and that the world is "causally closed," for example - is "false." We agree with this and believe that the reductionist arguments of Jaegwon Kim can be shown wrong.

  1. In our world, there are conscious experiences.
  2. There is a logically possible world physically identical to ours, in which the positive facts about consciousness in our world do not hold.
  3. Therefore, facts about consciousness are further facts about our world, over and above the physical facts.
  4. So materialism is false.

Chalmers suggests that the dualistic (non-physical) element might be information. Indeed it might. With this idea too, information philosophy completely agrees. Mind/body is a property dualism

Chalmers says that a "fundamental theory of consciousness" might be based on information. He says that "physical realization is the most common way to think about information embedded in the world, but it is not the only way information can be found. We can also find information realized in our phenomenology." (ibid, p.284)

He is quite correct. Information is neither matter nor energy. It needs matter to be embedded temporarily in the brain. And it needs energy to be communicated. Phenomenal experiences transmitted to us as visual perceptions, for example, consist of information that is pure radiant energy. The pure (mental) information content in one brain can be transmitted to other brains, by converting it to energy for communication; other brains can then embody the same information (perhaps with significant differences in the details) for use by other minds (the "multiply realizable" software in different brains' hardware).

Chalmers comes very close to our view of the mind as information. He describes his fundamental theory as a "double-aspect principle."

The treatment of information brings out a crucial link between the physical and the phenomenal: whenever we find an information space realized phenomenally, we find the same information space realized physically...It is natural to suppose that this double life of information spaces corresponds to a duality at a deep level. We might even suggest that this double realization is the key to the fundamental connection between physical processes and conscious experience. We need some sort of construct to make the link, and information seems as good a construct as any. It may be that principles concerning the double realization of information could be fleshed out into a system of basic laws connecting the physical and phenomenal domains.

We might put this by suggesting as a basic principle that information (in the actual world) has two aspects, a physical and a phenomenal aspect. Wherever there is a phenomenal state, it realizes an information state, an information state that is also realized in the cognitive system of the brain. Conversely, for at least some physically realized information spaces, whenever an information state in that space is realized physically, it is also realized phenomenally...

Information seems to be a simple and straightforward construct that is well suited for this sort of connection, and which may hold the promise of yielding a set of laws that are simple and comprehensive. If such a set of laws could be achieved, then we might truly have a fundamental theory of consciousness.

It may just be...that there is a way of seeing information itself as fundamental.

In his conclusions, Chalmers declares himself to be a mind-body dualist.

I resisted mind-body dualism for a long time, but I have now come to the point where I accept it, not just as the only tenable view but as a satisfying view in its own right. It is always possible that I am confused, or that there is a new and radical possibility that I have overlooked; but I can comfortably say that I think dualism is very likely true. I have also raised the possibility of a kind of panpsychism. Like mind-body dualism, this is initially counterintuitive, but the counterintuitiveness disappears with time. I am unsure whether the view is true or false, but it is at least intellectually appealing, and on reflection it is not too crazy to be acceptable.

In recent years, Chalmers has explored panpsychism, the thesis that some fundamental entities have mental states. Thomas Nagel and Galen Strawson have also examined panpsychism. Since information is a universal property of matter, it "goes all the way down," so the basis of mentality - information - is present in the simplest physical structures.

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Notes

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Bibliography

Chapter 1.4 - The Philosophy Chapter 1.6 - The Scientists
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