what is an ‘I’


In recent years, have there been any developments in philosophy of mind and in computer models of consciousness that you find especially compelling?

That’s hard to say. I think there’s been a kind of shift in feeling over the years, but I wouldn’t be able to say anything specific. You have to understand that I’m not professionally involved in the philosophy of mind in the sense of being in the thick of things. I do like to think that my ideas about the philosophy of mind will interest and have some effect on philosophers of mind, but I don’t spend my time in their company. I don’t go to their meetings; I don’t read their books or articles very much, so I’m really out of it. I couldn’t say. I went to a conference a few months ago in Tucson, and I could see that it was popular to talk about self-reference, and that might not have been popular when GEB came out 30 years ago. And in fact I think that’s why this book—the two philosophers who invited me to contribute to their anthology—I think it’s sort of like an idea whose time has come. I’m not saying that it’s going to sweep the world; it might or might not. But it wasn’t a very fashionable idea 30 years ago, and it’s much more fashionable today. That means that I think the atmosphere for a reception for my ideas may be better, but I don’t know whether there are any big developments that have actually changed things.

more from The American Scientist here.