Consciousness Ain’t Real?


I confess. I am, at heart, a technical writer — my objective is a lucid presentation of ideas.

Slowly I turned

Niaagraaaa Falls!

Godin likens ‘consciousness choice’ to a play-by-play announcer commenting on pre-existing events.

Here’s a recent example of that sort of thing from the estimable Seth Godin.

  • Consciousness is “a noise in our heads.”
  • We can’t tell if anyone else has the same noise in their head…and “if we can’t tell, then it doesn’t even matter.”
  • “Leaders in the area philosophy of mind” argue that the noise in our head is not causative but “just a historical artifact.”
  • Godin likens it to a play-by-play announcer commenting on pre-existing events.
  • He elaborates to say that it’s possible to demonstrate this using MRI scanning and some “thoughtful mind experiments.”
  • He speculates that “this evolved over time in that human beings talked to themselves… and then our brains evolved to the point where we could talk to ourselves without talking out loud, and that language leads to this notion that we have a little man or a little woman in our head who’s telling us what to do — but we don’t.”

Fred Skinner

Oh yeah, let’s start with B. F. Skinner and jump back to the state of academic psychology in the ’70s…when I was first subjected to it.

Skinner asks us to believe that our energy-intensive consciousness emerged and has been sustained as a meaningless free-rider.

Behaviorism became Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What happened to old Fred Skinner?

It’s an irony that many folks claiming that conscious thought has no impact manage to navigate graduate programs and academic careers.

Game playing

Game playing is a second case where the claim that ‘conscious thought is epiphenomenal’ theory comes up glaringly short.

Family personal best: a four eradication win in Pandemic. This game generally requires thinking two rounds, ie, six moves ahead.
Kiki with some of her favorite games. I’m an impulse player; she’s more thoughtful.

End of Part 1

Part 1 here, relates why I think the discounting consciousness is wrong as in misguided.

Part 2 explains why I think the idea is wrong as in damaging!

Also, see Free Will Considered As Three Lunches (V2).

Berkeley Backpacking Biz Lifer, System Builder, Coder, Community Organizer, Music and Evolutionary Biology Geek. Sign up and my projects at

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