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Mind and Language

Thinking unempirically

Abstract: Empiricism has become the default standard of our age, and only that which can be appropriately measured and assigned is now thought to be true. Objectively true. Fully true. In the short piece below I argue that this position, this approach to the world and our manner of being in it, needlessly restricts how we live and harmfully narrows our future possibilities. What follows is a case for thinking differently, for thinking unempirically.

Keywords: being; empirical; imagination; objectivity; scientific method; truth

Thinking Unempirically_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published on Philosopher, July 03, 2017. <http://philosopher.io/Thinking-Unempirically>.


Talking about consciousness

Abstract: One of the most intractable problems in the philosophy of mind today – and in philosophy generally – is that of consciousness. Some think that it cannot be accounted for and must somehow be an extra element of the universe, while others reject such thoughts as ludicrous and maintain that a reductionist and purely physical account can provide all the answers necessary. The present piece (prudently perhaps) does not try to solve that debate but instead argues that fault is to be found in the manner in which the debate is being conducted, that it is the dialogical terms and approaches that are at the root of the troubles. In exploring this position thinking, intent, feeling, experience and qualia are all considered and the beginnings of a multi-layered model are presented.

Keywords: consciousness; experience; feeling; intent; qualia; thinking; what it is like

Talking about Consciousness_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published in the journal Bulletin of the University of Kochi. Full publication information forthcoming.


Dreaming of AI lovers

Abstract: The vision of building machines that are or can be self-aware has long gripped humankind and now seems closer than ever to being realized. Yet behind this idea lie deep problems associated with the self, with consciousness, and with what it is to be a being capable of experience. It is the aim of this paper to first explore these important background concepts and seek clarity in each one before then turning to the question of artificial intelligence and whether or not such is really possible in the manner in which we are approaching it.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; consciousness; ontology; qualia; the self

Dreaming of AI lovers_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published in the journal Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Full publication information forthcoming.


Our present absence: Some thoughts on space

Abstract: The availability of open areas around us is something that we often take for granted, only really noticing empty space when there is a lack of it. Yet this can have a major impact on our feelings of well-being, our connection with others and our surroundings, and even our appreciation of beauty. The following examines this notion of emptiness through some considerations of living space, the psychology of crowding, transcendental and aesthetic experiences, and posits the idea of a language of space. The argument is made that the nothing around is better considered a something.

Keywords: Haidt’s hive switch; Ike no Taiga; Kuniyoshi Utagawa; language of space; living space; overpopulation

Our present absence: Some thoughts on space_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in the journal
Surugadai University Studies, 48 (2014), 133-145.


Don’t put mouths in my words: Intuitive moral judgments and the quest for a factual vocabulary

Abstract: Although philosophers as a group may be skilled at making rational moral judgments, nearly everyone else is not (discussed in Haidt (2001); see below), and this disconnect has important implications for how we should approach our use of language in philosophy. In the following, the intuitive basis of the vast majority of moral judgments is explored, as well as the default evaluative layer this process gives to our languages when they are used in their day-to-day aspect as communicative tools. However, a purely factual vocabulary is not impossible, and taking a lead from Carnap’s work on formal idioms three general aspects of what such would entail are briefly examined. Finally, the role that philosophy can offer in the practical application of knowledge gained through a research-focused use of a factual vocabulary is indicated in the hope that we who engage in philosophy will do so with the goal of helping to improve the lives of those around us.

Keywords: evaluative vocabulary; factual vocabulary; intuitive morality; language; moral judgments

Don't put mouths in my words_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published on
Philosopher, November 07, 2013. <http://philosopher.io/The-Quest-for-a-Factual-Vocabulary>.