Have you ever wondered what consciousness is or how we should test for it in weird cases of consciousness? It might seem like we know everything there is to know about our own, first-person conscious experience - after all, our own consciousness seems to be the thing we are the most intimately connected with! But how can we know about the conscious experiences of other people - including those who don’t have the language to tell us? And could we be wrong, even about features of our own conscious experience - like some patients with brain damage might seem to be? Is unified experience a fundamental feature of consciousness? Does artificial intelligence possess consciousness? Could we be wrong about whether (or to what degree) our experience is unified, or has the qualities we think it has?
These are the kinds of questions we’ll be tackling in our organization. We are interested in understanding consciousness and how it relates to the brain. How can subjective experience fit into objective reality? Do (or can) artificial intelligences possess consciousness? If we found intelligent aliens, how would we know whether or not they were conscious - whether there was something it was like to be them? Could we be wrong about whether (or to what degree) our experience is unified, or has the qualities we think it has?
This club uses various theoretical and methodological strategies to understand what consciousness is, what it does, and how it should be characterized. This pursuit impacts how we ought to test for consciousness, what the ethical implications of these findings are, and how to best discern unconscious entities from conscious ones. We aim to employ strategies from both western and eastern philosophy of mind and metaphysics, philosophical psychopathology (that is, the philosophy of “weird” brain disorders), and neuroscience.