This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Simon, who is a a postdoctoral associate in the NYU Department of Philosophy, and research fellow of the NYU Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness and the Global Institute for Advanced Study Project on Space, Time and Consciousness. His primary research is in the metaphysics of mind. He also has research interests in perception, the metaphysics of science, moral psychology, value theory, and legal and political philosophy. We had a great discussion on property dualism, the immortality of the soul, and more.
We covered these Questions:
- Let’s start with this: how do you define consciousness?
- You describe yourself as a ‘property’ dualist? What exactly is that?
- A discussion on the neural correlates, emergence of mind/consciousness, and your his views.
- Tell me about the topic of your dissertation, ‘borderline’ consciousness. What does that mean?
- What is your view on the matter?
- Are you familiar with research done by Dr. Tononi and Dr.Koch on their experiments in measuring consciousness? I would think that could have fascinating ramifications on testing borderline consciousness.
- So…your take on panpsychism, then?
- Can consciousness survive the death of the body/brain, is it immortal, in your view?
- In your paper on immortality, you describe a gap, a kind of quantum leap, between existence and non-existence that is the central issue of the survival of consciousness.
- Can you quickly give us a summary of that argument?
- Where do you land on that?
- The argument is about the immortality of the ‘soul’. Does ‘soul’ equate to consciousness?
- If the immortality arguments holds true (true? Valid? I’m starting to get philosophy 101 flashbacks), what actually survives?
- Any thought as to if/how quantum physics theory could play into this?
- Is there a practical application to all of this? Is there some way we can expand, exercise, observe our own consciousness?
- What are you going to be studying or working on in the future, when it comes to consciousness? Do you see any breakthroughs coming that really get you excited?
And…a short discussion on Artificial Intelligence and consciousness.