THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE II

Introduced by Geoff Catchpole on 27 June 1997

In his final talk on the topic the speaker first reviewed the previous talk and some basic issues,
which arise mainly from our convictions about ourselves as individuals. Consideration of Behaviourism,
then Connectionism, which are concerned primarily with how our brain functions, led to reflections on the
implications of our interaction with internal and external environments. Memory and concepts of "self" were
considered, before attention turned to the possibility and status of "conscious machines".
Alternative views of "consciousness" and "mind", either as metaphors for emergent properties of
brain states or as personal or universal phenomena were examined. Roger Penrose's recent arguments for
some interactions between the quantum, physical and mental worlds were considered, together with some
critical and alternative views.
Various theories and theorists were identified in at least three camps ' those who supported either
mystical or metaphysical accounts, others who required revisions of classical physics to support
psychophysical or cosmological positions and those who think explanations can be satisfactorily derived
through established sciences. It is conceded, however, that the rapid recent advances in the neurosciences
is throwing a good deal of light into the dark corners of our mental worlds. It is possible that shortly we may
come to know at long last who, what and where we are, within our brief lifetimes.
Geoff Catchpole