Mind to Mind

Mind to Mind is a podcast in which I talk to leading philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists about their work and its significance.

Episode 1: Nicholas Humphrey

An interview with neuropsychologist Nicholas Humphrey, focusing on the theory of consciousness presented in his books Seeing Red (2006), Soul Dust (2011), and Sentience (2022). We talked about blindsight, the difference between sensation and perception, the function of consciousness, whether phenomenal consciousness is an illusion, artificial consciousness, suicide, spirituality, and evolutionary psychology.

00:25 Introduction to Nicholas Humphrey9
02:56 Taking consciousness seriously
05:18 NH’s work with the monkey Helen and his discovery of blindsight
13:24 The discovery of blindsight in humans
15:56 Monkey aesthetics and colour preferences
18:13 The distinction between sensation and perception
22:40 The story of HD and the meaning of sensation
27:53 Sentition and the evolution of sensation
34:52 The evolution of NH’s thinking about consciousness
38:44 NH’s account of adaptive function of consciousness
48:40 Is phenomenal consciousness an illusion?
1:00:24 Phenomenal surrealism
1:03:45 The ipsundrum and the gregundrum
1:08:36 Artificial consciousness
1:14:30 Sentience in non-human animals, with discussion of octopuses
1:20:36 Reflexive consciousness and phenomenal consciousness
1:25:02 Suicide and depression
1:38:02 Materialism, religion, and spirituality
1:42:04 Evolutionary psychology