In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Philosopher Tom Clark. Tom hosts Naturalism.Org, one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on worldview naturalism, its implications and applications. He is also a research associate at the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University, working on solutions to drug addiction and other behavioral disorders. We had a great conversation about the subjective versus objective experiences of consciousness, neural correlates of consciousness, death, and more. Please enjoy this episode with Philosopher Tom Clark.

Read more from Naturalism.og on the subjects we discussed:


Questions we discussed: 

  1. The empirical “nature” of naturalism must present some challenges when describing phenomenal, non-observable experiences of consciousness. 
  2. Why don’t we start with your thoughts on consciousness, what’s your understanding of consciousness? Is that possible to do?
  3. Your analogy to fish: Something it is like to be a hooked fish. The point is we can’t observe pain, like we can observe a physical wound that causes private (conscious) pain. Right?
  4. You describe a notion of privacy constraint on consciousness, that an experience is held private, not for the public to observe. How does that play into the understanding of consciousness? We can’t objectify consciousness?
  5. Do you think we will find “neural and functional correlates of consciousness”?
    1. Metzinger The Ego Tunnel, Being Nobody — promising theory of consciousness; Minimal Phenomenal Experience (MPE); 
    2. More reading:
  6. So, what causes qualia, phenomenal experiences? Is that even a relevant question at this point?
  7. Thoughts on Panpsychism?
    1. You see promise in IIT (Dr. Tononi and Koch)? Do you think their attempts to measure consciousness (even in an apple) will be successful?
  8. Illusionism, Keith Frankish
  9. Let’s take a stab at death. Please share your thoughts on death and consciousness.
  10. What else, what haven’t I asked you?
  11. Andy Clark, Predictive Coding; Stan Harris’ meditation app
  12. Will you be exploring any other areas of consciousness soon? Representational content
  13. Any breakthroughs coming, possibly, that excite you? Correlates of consciousness; Anil Seth

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One comment on “Episode 33: Subjective versus Objective experiences of Consciousness with Tom Clark

  1. Theodore Bolha Mar 3, 2020

    What happened *after* the last time you didn’t exist? A birth. Will there be births in the universe after you no longer exist?

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