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Talk at UQAM in Montreal -- July 3, 2018

The University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) had a summer Institute on the “Other Minds” problem. This classic issue focuses on the question of which species have minds, and if they do, how would we know?

I was invited to present my new theory on the origins of consciousness and be part of a panel that tossed around a host of ideas about how, when, why, and under what conditions minds first appeared, when subjectivity or, if you wish, “sentience” made its entry onto the stage of life here on our planet. 

My model, dubbed the “Cellular Basis of Consciousness,” argues that minds emerged with life, that even the most primitive of species (the prokaryotes) have subjectivity, consciouness — though, of course, their minds are very tiny and don’t do all that much. In short and in the language of philosophers of mind, “there is something it is like to be a bacterium.”

Here’s the YouTube of the presentation

The book developing the theory in detail titled “The First Minds: Caterpillars, ‘Karyotes, and Consciousness” will be out in a couple of months (Oxford University Press).

If the link fails, cut and paste the url:

I’d love feedback — of course. 

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