Philosophers / Thinkers

30 David Chalmers Quotes About Life (PHILOSOPHER)

Top 9 Most Famous David Chalmers Quotes (BEST)

“Now I have to say I’m a complete atheist, I have no religious views myself and no spiritual views, except very watered down humanistic spiritual views, and consciousness is just a fact of life, it’s a natural fact of life.”

David Chalmers
People have managed to avert their eyes and hope for the best.
People have managed to avert their eyes and hope for the best.

“I think that consciousness has always been the most important topic in the philosophy of mind, and one of the most important topics in cognitive science as a whole, but it had been surprisingly neglected in recent years.”

David Chalmers
There's certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.
There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.

“Here, the broader issues are already familiar, and discussion has focused at a more sophisticated and detailed level. Within the philosophy of mind, the problem of consciousness is no big news.”

David Chalmers
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a 'neural correlate of consciousness'
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a ‘neural correlate of consciousness’?

“I never expected this to catch on in the way it did! Of course similar observations have been made by any number of people, and the distinction is obvious to anyone who thinks about the subject a little.”

David Chalmers
How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness
How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness?

“Things are still in early stages, but one can imagine that as we build up and systematize our theories of these associations, and try to boil them down to their core, the result might point us toward the sort of fundamental principles I advocate.”

David Chalmers

6 David Chalmers Quotes on Science and Mathematics

“Even when I was studying mathematics, physics, and computer science, it always seemed that the problem of consciousness was about the most interesting problem out there for science to come to grips with.”

David Chalmers
It probably helps that my background is in the sciences and I can speak the scientists' language.
It probably helps that my background is in the sciences and I can speak the scientists’ language.

“Within psychology and neuroscience, some new and rigorous experimental paradigms for studying consciousness have helped it begin to overcome the stigma that has been attached to the topic for most of this century.”

David Chalmers
My interests started about in science and in mathematics; I always thought I was going to be a mathematician.
My interests started about in science and in mathematics; I always thought I was going to be a mathematician.

“I had the idea that it would be wonderful to be a physicist or a mathematician maybe 500 years ago around the time of Newton when there were really fundamental things just lying around to be discovered.”

David Chalmers

“Actually, I think my view is compatible with much of the work going on now in neuroscience and psychology, where people are studying the relationship of consciousness to neural and cognitive processes without really trying to reduce it to those processes.”

David Chalmers

9 David Chalmers Quotes on Consciousness

“Why should there be conscious experience at all? It is central to a subjective viewpoint, but from an objective viewpoint it is utterly unexpected. Taking the objective view, we can tell a story about how fields, waves, and particles in the spatiotemporal manifold interact in subtle ways, leading to the development of complex systems such as brains. In principle, there is no deep philosophical mystery in the fact that these systems can process information in complex ways, react to stimuli with sophisticated behavior, and even exhibit such complex capacities as learning, memory, and language. All this is impressive, but it is not metaphysically baffling. In contrast, the existence of conscious experience seems to be a new feature from this viewpoint. It is not something that one would have predicted from the other features alone. That is, consciousness is surprising. If all we knew about were the facts of physics, and even the facts about dynamics and information processing in complex systems, there would be no compelling reason to postulate the existence of conscious experience. If it were not for our direct evidence in the first-person case, the hypothesis would seem unwarranted; almost mystical, perhaps. Yet we know, directly, that there is conscious experience. The question is, how do we reconcile it with everything else we know?”

David Chalmers
Studying consciousness tells us more about how the world is fundamentally strange. I think we have a few revolutions to go yet before we get to the bottom of it.
Studying consciousness tells us more about how the world is fundamentally strange. I think we have a few revolutions to go yet before we get to the bottom of it.
Materialism is a beautiful and compelling view of the world, but to account for consciousness, we have to go beyond the resources it provides.
Materialism is a beautiful and compelling view of the world, but to account for consciousness, we have to go beyond the resources it provides.
We won't have a theory of everything without a theory of consciousness.
We won’t have a theory of everything without a theory of consciousness.

“The subject matter is perhaps best characterized as “the subjective quality of experience.” When we perceive, think, and act, there is a whir of causation and information processing, but this processing does not usually go on in the dark. There is also an internal aspect; there is something it feels like to be a cognitive agent. This internal aspect is conscious experience. Conscious experiences range from vivid color sensations to experiences of the faintest background aromas; from hard-edged pains to the elusive experience of thoughts on the tip of one’s tongue; from mundane sounds and smells to the encompassing grandeur of musical experience; from the triviality of a nagging itch to the weight of a deep existential angst; from the specificity of the taste of peppermint to the generality of one’s experience of selfhood. All these have a distinct experienced quality. All are prominent parts of the inner life of the mind. We can say that a being is conscious if there is something it is like to be that being, to use a phrase made famous by Thomas Nagel.”

David Chalmers
Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.
Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.

“Some say that consciousness is an “illusion,” but I have little idea what this could even mean. It seems to me that we are surer of the existence of conscious experience than we are of anything else in the world.”

David Chalmers
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a neural correlate of consciousness
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a “neural correlate of consciousness”?

“Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain.”

David Chalmers

3 David Chalmers Quotes on Zombies

“Because the idea of zombies seems to make sense, and seems to, in a certain sense, be possible, I think one can use that to argue against the thesis that everything is purely physical. Now many people, I think, agree that the idea of zombies are conceivable, including people who want to be physicalists.”

David Chalmers
A philosopher might find the general work unsophisticated, and scientists are often bemused by esoteric talk of zombies, supervenience, and possible worlds.
A philosopher might find the general work unsophisticated, and scientists are often bemused by esoteric talk of zombies, supervenience, and possible worlds.

“I think the existence of zombies would contradict certain laws of nature in our world. It seems to be a law of nature, in our world, that when you get a brain of a certain character you get consciousness going along with it.”

David Chalmers

2 David Chalmers Quotes on Sense Data and Qualia

“Sense data are much more controversial than qualia, because they are associated with a controversial theory of perception – that one perceives the world by perceiving one’s sense-data, or something like that.”

David Chalmers
Actually, I think most people accept the existence of qualia.
Actually, I think most people accept the existence of qualia.

1 David Chalmers that Will Make You Think

Although I'm Australian, I find myself much more in sympathy with the Austrian version!
Although I’m Australian, I find myself much more in sympathy with the Austrian version!

(MUST READ) Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy

Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy
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