philosophy

The Ship of Theseus

An ancient ship rots in the harbor and so we restore it piece by piece until nothing of the original ship remains. Is it still the same ship? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss one of history’s more mind-boggling thought experiments. 

Machine Consciousness and P-Zombies

If a machine told you it was conscious, how could you tell if it was lying? Indeed, how can you tell that any random human in your life is lying when they speak of their own consciousness. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a stirring discussion on AI consciousness, philosophical zombies and the coming techno-cognitive dilemma. 

The Nuts and Bolts of Boltzmann Brains

Do your ever have the feeling that your entire reality is just a momentary hallucination inside a randomly formed space brain? If so, then this is the podcast episode for you! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the existential nightmare of Boltzmann brains, a thought experiment that questions the nature of self and cosmos. Plus, expect some discussion of Descartes’ evil demon, brain in a vat and the Hindu concept of Māyā.

This Present Moment: Philosophy & Neuroscience

What is now? What is the present moment? These questions continue to stagger us, for nothing is so simultaneously familiar and alien than the passage of time. Nothing seems more “real” to us that the present, yet it vanishes into nothing at every attempt to capture or quantify it. In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dive into the experience, physics, philosophy and neuroscience of now.

This Present Moment: Experience and Physics

What is now? What is the present moment? These questions continue to stagger us, for nothing is so simultaneously familiar and alien than the passage of time. Nothing seems more “real” to us that the present, yet it vanishes into nothing at every attempt to capture or quantify it. In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dive into the experience, physics, philosophy and neuroscience of now.

Bicameralism, Part 2: The Silent Pantheon

In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.

Bicameralism, Part 1: The Voice of God

In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.

The Science of Secrets

Can you keep a secret? If so, what's the psychic weight of that secret? How does secret keeping fit into human evolution and the modern shape of human society? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the science of secrets and secret keeping in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

R. Scott Bakker: On Alien Philosophy and Fantasy

Canadian author R. Scott Bakker is best known for his Second Apocalypse saga, a series of dark fantasy novels that explore philosophical and even neuroscientific ideas through a world of sorcery, holy wars and inhuman evil. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe chat with Bakker about his recent paper 'On Alien Philosophy,' published in the The Journal of Consciousness Studies. Plus, as a long-time fan, Robert throws in a few questions about Bakker’s approach to fiction and the strange creatures that occupy his created worlds.

O Time Thy Pyramids: The Library of Babel

In Jorge Luis Borges' masterful short story "The Library of Babel," librarians and cultists wander a vast honeycomb library of hexagonal rooms -- rooms that contain not only all books but all possible books, from unwritten masterpieces to tomes of typographical nonsense. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe venture into this metaphoric labyrinth for contemplations of genetics, cosmology, philosophy, computer programing and magic.