Can Robots become Sentient? Abhinavagupta’s Panentheism in Dialogue with Contemporary Neuroscience: Vimarśa and Integrated Information Theory (IIT 3.0)
Loriliai Biernacki

October 20, 2023, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Philosophy Department, Lewis & Clark College

John R. Howard Hall, Room 202
615 S Palatine Hill Rd.
United States

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October 20, 2023 3:30 - 5:00p PST


I address how sentience might arise using a comparative analysis of the nondual philosophy of the 11th century Hindu philosopher Abhinavagupta in relation to a contemporary, currently popular neuroscientific theory addressing the relation between the mind and the body, Integrated Information Theory (IIT 3.0). How it is that some things and entities are classified as sentient, while others are not? While much of Indian philosophy engages with the concept of consciousness, often writ in large and abstract terms, as cit or samvit, I suggest that Abhinavagupta’s articulation of consciousness as vimarśa may be better suited as a concept for determining the status of sentience. This analysis of Abhinavagupta’s panentheism, particularly with the concept of vimarśa, brings to the forefront a crucial and often somewhat overlooked premise underlying IIT 3.0’s ontological framework: the implicit and requisite assumption of subjectivity within materiality.

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