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Ideas of Anil Seth, by Text

[British, fl. 2021, Professor of Neuroscience at Sussex University.]

2021 Being You
I.1 n p.22 Single neurons can carry out complex functions
     Full Idea: It is increasingly apparent that even single neurons are capable of carrying out highly complex functions all by themselves.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], I.1 n)
     A reaction: Bang goes the simple connectionist account of consciousness.
I.2 p.37 The cerbellum has a huge number of neurons, but little involvement in consciousness
     Full Idea: The cerebellum [at the back] has about four times as many neurons as the rest of the brain put together, but seems barely involved in consciousness.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], I.2)
     A reaction: I wonder if it also has four times as many connections?
I.2 p.46 Human exceptionalism plagues biology, and most other human thinking
     Full Idea: Human exceptionalism has repeatedly plagued biology, and has darkened the history of human thought everywhere.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], I.2)
     A reaction: I increasingly agree with this, as much in philosophy as in biology. We really need to get used to our place in evolution.
I.3 p.61 Maybe a system is conscious if the whole generates more information than its parts
     Full Idea: The main claim of Tononi's 'integrated information theory' is that a system is conscious to the extent that its whole generates more information than its parts.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], I.3)
     A reaction: Seth seems to present this as an 'interesting' proposal. I find it unlikely that consciousness could be explain in terms of information, or that a machine constructed on this principle would thus become conscious. (Databases pass this test).
III.11 p.216 Volition is felt as doing what you want, with possible alternatives, and a source from within
     Full Idea: The experience of volition is defined by 1) the feeling that I am doing what I want to do, 2) that I could have done otherwise, and 3) that voluntary actions seem to come from within.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], III.11)
     A reaction: Note that these can all be cited without reference to their feeling 'free'.
III.8 p.151 The self is embodied, perspectival, volitional, narrative and social
     Full Idea: The elements of a self are 1) embodied - related directly to the body, 2) perspectival - having a viewpoint, 3) volitional - being an agent, 4) narrative - aware of past and future, and 5) social - as others perceive me.
     From: report of Anil Seth (Being You [2021], III.8) by PG - Db (ideas)
     A reaction: [summarised] Seth says there are distinctive emotions associated with each of these aspects of the self. This list is very helpful, as a discouragement for anyone who wants to pick one of these as the sole true nature of the self.
IV.13 p.252 Modern AI is mostly machine-based pattern recognition
     Full Idea: Much of today's AI is best described as sophisticated machine-based pattern recognition.
     From: Anil Seth (Being You [2021], IV.13)
     A reaction: Personally I wouldn't want to underestimate the extent to which human intelligence is also pattern recognition (across time as well as in space).