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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Pseudo-Book (Heap of Papers!) to hold a subset my printouts / photocopies of papers related - inter alia - to my Thesis on the topic of Personal Identity. Those I'm currently reading (allegedly).



"Bonhomme (Vincent), Etc. - General Anesthesia: A Probe to Explore Consciousness"

Source: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 1 August 2019, Volume 13, Article 36


Authors’ Abstract
  1. General anesthesia reversibly alters consciousness, without shutting down the brain globally. Depending on the anesthetic agent and dose, it may produce different consciousness states including:-
    → a complete absence of subjective experience (unconsciousness),
    → a conscious experience without perception of the environment (disconnected consciousness, like during dreaming), or
    → episodes of oriented consciousness with awareness of the environment (connected consciousness).
  2. Each consciousness state may potentially be followed by explicit or implicit memories after the procedure. In this respect, anesthesia can be considered as a proxy to explore consciousness.
  3. During recent years, progress in the exploration of brain function has allowed a better understanding of the neural correlates of consciousness, and of their alterations during anesthesia. Several changes in:-
    → functional and effective between-region brain connectivity,
    → consciousness network topology, and
    → spatio-temporal dynamics of between-region interactions
    have been evidenced during anesthesia.
  4. Despite a set of effects that are common to many anesthetic agents, it is still uneasy to draw a comprehensive picture of the precise cascades during general anesthesia.
  5. Several questions remain unsolved, including:-
    1. the exact identification of the neural substrate of consciousness and its components,
    2. the detection of specific consciousness states in unresponsive patients and their associated memory processes,
    3. the processing of sensory information during anesthesia,
    4. the pharmacodynamic interactions between anesthetic agents,
    5. the direction-dependent hysteresis phenomenon during the transitions between consciousness states,
    6. the mechanisms of cognitive alterations that follow an anesthetic procedure,
    7. the identification of an eventual unitary mechanism of anesthesia-induced alteration of consciousness,
    8. the relationship between network effects and the biochemical or sleep-wake cycle targets of anesthetic agents, as well as
    9. the vast between-studies variations in dose and administration mode, leading to difficulties in between-studies comparisons.
  6. In this narrative review, we draw the picture of the current state of knowledge in anesthesia-induced unconsciousness, from insights gathered on propofol, halogenated vapors, ketamine, dexmedetomidine, benzodiazepines and xenon.
  7. We also describe how anesthesia can help understanding consciousness, we develop the above-mentioned unresolved questions, and propose tracks for future research.


COMMENT: See Bonhomme - General Anesthesia: A Probe to Explore Consciousness for the full text.



"Insole (Christopher J.) - Realism and Anti-Realism"

Source: The Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, Edited by William J. Abraham and Frederick D. Aquino, June 2017


Author's Abstract
  1. The chapter argues that the search for a single construal of the realism/anti-realism distinction is misguided. There are more or less apt versions of the distinction, each framed with a specific set of interests. The terms of art, ‘realist’ and ‘anti-realist’, are not helpfully construed as applying across whole domains (‘science’, ‘religion’, ‘ethics’), or thinkers, but at the level of particular statements.
  2. As such, the distinction has less in common with categorizations such as ‘theist/atheist’, or ‘empiricist/rationalist’, and more in common with (contestable, but still useful for many) terms of art such as ‘a priori/a posteriori’ and ‘analytic/synthetic’.
  3. The chapter explores four alternative construals of the distinction: cognitivist, ontological, epistemological, and semantic. When we get to the more subtle construals of semantic anti-realism/realism, it is unclear what precisely (if anything) is at stake in the debate.


COMMENT:



"Otsuka (Michael) - Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming"

Source: Erkenntnis (2018) 83:1229–1243


Author’s Abstract
  1. According to philosophers who ground your anticipation of future experiences in psychological continuity and connectedness, it is rational to anticipate the experiences of someone other than yourself, such as a self that is the product of fission or of replication.
  2. In this article, I concur that it is rational to anticipate the experiences of the product of fission while denying the rationality of anticipating the experiences of a replica.
  3. In defending my position, I offer the following explanation of why you have good reason to anticipate the experiences of your post-fission successor but not your replica: in the former case, you become (i.e., substantially change into) somebody else, whereas, in the latter case, you are merely replaced by somebody else.


COMMENT: For the full text, see Otsuka - Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming.



"Various - Papers on Desktop"

Source: Various - Papers on Desktop
  • If this pseudo-paper appears in "Various - Papers on Desktop" on its own, this indicates that there are no papers on my desktop!
  • Otherwise, it can be ignored.



"Wyatt (John) - Artificial intelligence and simulated relationships"

Source: Cambridge Papers, Vol. 28.3, December 2019


Author’s Summary
  1. Interactions with apparently human-like and ‘emotionally intelligent’ AIs are likely to become commonplace within the next ten years, ranging from entirely disembodied agents like chatbots through to physical humanoid robots.
  2. This will lead to new and troubling ethical, personal and legal dilemmas. Will the promotion of ‘relationships’ with machines contribute to societal wellbeing and human flourishing, or provide new opportunities for manipulation and deception of the vulnerable?
  3. As biblical Christians we are called to safeguard and to celebrate the centrality of embodied human-to-human relationships, particularly in essential caring and therapeutic roles, and in our families and Christian communities.


COMMENT: For the full text see Wyatt - Artificial intelligence and simulated relationships.



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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