How did minds first evolve out of matter? Could consciousness have evolved more than once? How do we tell which living things have minds? Is there something it’s like to be a crab and live a crab's life? This week we’re thinking about “Minds and Matter.”
Another month of pandemic... and another philosophical puzzle from me to distract you from it. This time, the puzzle concerns beliefs and specifically whether acting under the guidance of false beliefs can exculpate someone of a moral wrongdoing.
There is a particular dead-eyed, mind-numbing exhaustion I feel at the end of every video meeting I’ve ever attended. Zoom is exhausting for many reasons, but the most important one is that it is missing a fundamental piece of social interaction—joint attention.
How much of your mental life is intentional action? And how much of it consists of inaction, not doing anything at all? To answer that, we need to get clear on what we mean by “intentional action” and “inaction.”
We tend to think that you can only have one thought at a time. You can switch between different kinds of thoughts quite quickly, or you can think many thoughts one after the other, but you can’t think more than one thought at the same time. That’s a mistake. There’s a way to think two thoughts at once.