The Science of Consciousness Conference 2020 presentation

This year’s Science of Consciousness conference was to be held in April in Tuscon, Arizona. Due to the covid-19 virus, however, the event was postponed and then relaunched as an online event. So I uploaded my presentation which was based on my paper ‘Qualitative Attribution, Phenomenal Experience and Being‘. The presentation is very similar to the one I gave in Moscow in 2019 at the Biosemiotics conference. I suppose, in theory, it has been improved.

Of course, it is very difficult to get any sense of the reaction from an online event. Furthermore, the event was fairly chaotic (MST or PST? and very little by way of communication). All the Q&As started at 1am through to 5am UK time and the focus was on the plenary events, the concurrent presentations seemly an afterthought. But all the same, I enjoyed my Q&A which was held on zoom. The panel were from one of the presentation groups. We discussed each others presentations with the occasional question coming from outside the group from other individuals who were part of the conference. The video below is part of the Q&A where I was asked specifically about information and meaning.

The Science of Consciousness conferences have been going on since 1994. Most take place in Tuscon but other events have taken place around the globe from Tokyo to Finland. I was quite surprised at how unscientific some of the presentations were. And the philosophical fields were not particularly well represented. What is it that attracts so many to panpsychism? It is a fad with no explanatory power or answers to the questions we want to have answered. Similarly, the heavy focus on quantum explanations to consciousness. When will this go the way of behaviourism and be consigned to the dustbin? The sooner the better in my opinion.

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