Best of


A list of my writings I find particularly important:

A Future for Neuroscience:

The problem facing neuroscience in 2018 is that we have a lot of experimental knowledge about how neurons work– and we have a lot of observational knowledge about how people behave– but we have few elegant compressions for how to connect the two. CSHW promises to do just that, to be a bridge from bottom-up neural dynamics – things we can measure – to high-level psychological/phenomenological/psychiatric phenomena – things we care about. And a bottom-up bridge like this should also allow continuous improvement as our understanding of the fundamentals improve, as well as significant unification across disciplines: instead of psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, and so on each having their own (slightly incompatible) ontologies, a true bottom-up approach can unify these different ways of knowing and serve as a common platform, a lingua franca for high-level brain dynamics. [6000 words]

Principia Qualia:

Philosophers have been wondering about the nature of consciousness (what it feels like to have subjective experience) and qualia (individual components of subjective experience) for as long as philosophy has existed. Advancements in physics and neuroscience have informed and constrained this mystery, but have not solved it. What would a systematic solution to the mystery of consciousness look like? [35000 words]

Rescuing Philosophy:

Philosophy has lost much of its energy, focus, and glamor in our modern era. What happened? [2000 words]

Against Functionalism:

Functionalism (“consciousness is the sum-total of the functional properties of our brains”) sounds a lot better than it actually turns out to be in practice. In particular, functionalism makes it impossible to define ethics & suffering in a way that can mediate disagreements. [6000 words]