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Is it possible to make a conscious computer?

Science fiction and certain voices in academia have manufactured cultural plausibility for the notion that we should, one day, be able to build a conscious computer. But is this idea even coherent to begin with? Who best to ask but the creator of the microprocessor and artificial intelligence pioneer, Federico Faggin.

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Can a physicist embrace idealism?

Is science in general, and physics in particular, compatible with a consciousness-only worldview in which matter is merely an appearance of extended mental processes underlying all nature? Physicist Dr. Claus Metzner doesn’t see why they shouldn’t.

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Re-thinking identity: Children’s experiences of self

Dr. Thomas argues that children, before a conceptual, culture-bound notion of self is inculcated in them, have a more spontaneous, broader sense of identity that defies our current worldview. She argues that their more natural, fluid self is more conducive to overcoming the despair characteristic of our present situation, and that it has much to teach us about reality itself. 

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What is consciousness?

Consciousness is more fundamental than, and precedes, higher-level mental activity such as thoughts and emotions. Therefore, it is possible that consciousness—as a kind of primary ‘operating system’—is present even in the complete absence of recognizable mental activity, argues dr. Woerlee with the authority of an anesthesiologist. We may thus be conscious even during states of seeming unconsciousness, which is relevant for metaphysics—such as idealism—that consider consciousness fundamental.

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The physics of first-person perspective: An interview with physicist Dr. Markus Müller

After Dr. Müller’s extraordinary presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, we, the editors, felt the need to interview him and explore his ideas further. If you haven’t watched his presentation already, we recommend you do so before reading on. The video is linked.

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Do we really live in a fundamentally physical universe? Are we essentially material beings? Essentia Foundation is a new force in the cultural dialogue about the nature of reality. Find out more about us.

Reading

Essays

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Consciousness unbound

Has rigorous empirical research ever contradicted materialism? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, Prof. Edward F. Kelly discusses decades of solid scientific work that does precisely that.

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Kabbalistic panpsychism: The enigma of consciousness in Jewish mystical thought

There are uncanny correspondences between Jewish mysticism and cutting-edge theories of reality such as idealist cosmopsychism, as discussed by neurologist Prof. Hyman M. Schipper in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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The role of mind in neuroscience

After failing to find anatomical or functional correlates of a variety of psychiatric conditions, Prof. dr. Sarah Durston has moved away from metaphysical materialism. This is what she discusses in her presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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The role of mind in nature

Prof. Mikhail Ilyin, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, discusses foundational issues around the mind-body problem, as historically explored in Western philosophy and beyond. Watch his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Would you like to submit an essay?

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A word from our Founder

Fred Matser, Essentia Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, explains his motivations for taking this initiative.

Seeing

Videos

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The limits of conceptual communication

Fred Matser, Essentia Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, invites us to contemplate the limits of mere words and concepts in our interactions with one another and nature at large. Are we missing out on important things because we assume that what cannot be said also cannot exist?

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Is the human brain a model of the universe?

In this eye-popping essay, physicist and mathematician Melvin Felton explores the uncanny and unexpected similarities between the structure of the human brain and the universe at large, at both unfathomably small and unfathomably vast scales. Nothing in today’s science explains these bewildering similarities.

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Is what you see, what you get?

Is what we see, what we get? Are the seemingly material objects around us what the world actually is? Or are our perceptions merely providing us with a coded representation of a deeper, mysterious reality?

From the archives

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Conscious realism

Is matter merely a ‘graphical user interface’ to a deeper, conscious reality? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, neuroscientist Prof. Donald Hoffman argues compellingly that this is indeed the case.

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Making space and time for matter and mind

A new understanding of space and time is a prerequisite for making sense of the mind-body problem, argues Prof. Bernard Carr in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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The mind-body problem: An anti-solution

If the mind-body problem is at all solvable, should it ever be solved? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, renowned author and science journalist John Horgan maintains that, for moral reasons, it shouldn’t.

Let us build the future of our culture together

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