Sam Harris Making Sense Podcast Ep 34 People, Books, Articles, Etc Mentioned

In episode 34 of the Making Sense podcast, Sam and David Chalmers talk the science and philosophy of consciousness as well as the future of AI consciousness. The following notes are people, books, articles, sites, and concepts mentioned by either Sam Harris or David Chalmers.


People Mentioned

David Chalmers - An Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist. He is also currently the director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness.

Daniel Dennett - Like Chalmers, Daniel Dennett is also a philsopher and cognitive scientist. Dennett is widely known as one of the "Four Horsemen of New Athiesm."

John Searle - An American philosopher speacializing in philosophy of the mind. In regards to the philosophy of AI, he is most well-known for his Chinese room argument, put forward in his paper Minds, Brains, and Programs.

Roger Penrose - English mathematical physicist working on general relativity and cosmology.

Stuart Hameroff - Anesthesiologist known for his studies in consciousness and contends that quantum states in neural microtubules are responsible for the emergence of consciousness.

Thomas Nagel - An American philosopher with interests in philosophy of the mind. Wrote the oft-cited paper What It is Like to Be a Bat?

Paul and Partricia Churchland - Two married Canadian philosophers with interested in cognitive science and artificial intelligence. 

Giulio Tononi - A neuroscientist and psychiatrist, considered one of the leading researchers in the field of consiousness studies.

Max Tegmark - A frequent guest on the Making Sense podcast, Max is a physicist who is known for his studies on the existential risk of AI. He wrote the book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Gerald Edelman - Was an American biologist who won the Nobel prize for his contribution in the understanding of antibodies. Although a biologist, he is widely known for his theory of consciousness and have written several books on the subject.

Andy Clark - A Scottish professor of philosophy specializing in philosophy of the mind. Author of the book Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension.

Nick Humphrey - An English neuropsychologist known for his work on the evolution of primate intelligecne and consciousness.

Lisa Randall - American theoretical physicists working in particle physics and cosmology.  Currently a professor at Harvard.

Sylvester James Gates (@Dr_JimGates) - Also known as Jim Gates, is a theoretical physicist who works on supersemmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.

Nick Bostrom - A Swedish philosopher who is known for his work on existential risk (especially from AI). Wrote the book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Neil Degrasse Tyson - An astrophysicist and science communicator who really needs no introduction.

Rene Descartes - Was a French philosopher and mathematician who is the father of the famous philosophical proposition "I think, therefore I am."

John Leslie - A Canadian philosopher specializing in philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and philosophy of the mind. He wrote the book The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. 

Douglas Hofstadter (@q_douglashofsta) - A professor of cognitive science whose research focus the sense of self in relation to the external world.

Robert Nozick - Was an American analytic philosopher whose main interests were political philosophy, ethics, and epistemology. 

Derek Parfit - British philosopher who specializes in analytics philosophy of ethics, rationality, and personal identity.

Eliezer Yudkowsky (@ESYudkowsky)- An AI researcher known for popularizing the idea of friendly artificial intelligence. 

Ray Kurzweil - A futurist who popularized the concept of the technological singularity, the theory that AI will trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in changes to human civilization that we can't even imagine or fathom.

Demis Hassabis - British AI researcher and neuroscientist. Was on an AI discussion panel with Sam Harris and Elon Musk. You can watch the discussion here.

Books Mentioned

The Conscious Mind David Chalmer's first book, serves to argue against materialist theories of consciousness as well as put forth his dualistic view of consciousness.  (3.98/5 GoodReads rating)

Consciousness Explained - Daniel Dennett's book that sought to explain how consciousness arises. (3.88/5 GoodReads rating)

The Singularity is Near - Book by Ray Kurzweil predicting what will happen when the singularity comes. (3.94/5 GoodReads rating)

The End of The World : The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction - A book by John Leslie written in 1996 that argues that the human race is in imminent danger of extinction.  (3.49/5 GoodReads rating)

Sites/Articles/Concepts Mentioned - David Chalmers' site

The Zombie Argument for Dualism - An argument in philosophy used to support the theory of mind-body dualism, often used against forms of physicalism. According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Zombies in philosophy are imaginary creatures designed to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. Unlike those in films or witchcraft, they are exactly like us in all physical respects but without conscious experiences: by definition there is ‘nothing it is like’ to be a zombie. Yet zombies behave just like us, and some even spend a lot of time discussing consciousness.

The Hard Problem (Of Consciousness) - The problem of explaining how and why conscious experiences arise (qualia).

Evil demon - A concept in Cartesian philosophy and can be found in Descartes' First Meditations. Descartes' said this of the evil demon:

This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, "I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which he has devised to ensnare my judgement. I shall consider myself as not having hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as falsely believing that I have all these things.

Utility monster thought experiment - A thought experiment designed by the late Robert Nozick. The purpose of the thought experiment was to criticize the philosophy of utilitarianism. Existential Comics explained the utility monster such as:

A Utility Monster is a thought experiment by Robert Nozick, which critisizes utilitarianism. He asks us to imagine a monster which recieves more utility (more pleasure basically) from each unit of resources than any humans do. It is therefore logical, and indeed morally required, to give everything to the monster. For example, if we had a piece of cake, the Utility Monster would get 1000 times more joy out of eating it than any human, so the action that would cause the most total pleasure would always be to give the cake to the monster.
The pun based 'Utility Monster' depicted in the comic gets a great deal of pleasure from destroying pipes. Apparently that pleasure is so great it outweighs the pain it would cause us to have the pipes destroyed. Since that would still result in more net pleasure, it is morally required to destroy the pipes. Peter Singer is a contemporary utilitarian.
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