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Hard problem of consciousness not so hard?

A special issue of the Springer philosophy review journal Topoi proposes to address this problem and there is a call for papers (February 28 2014):

Much work in the philosophy of consciousness begins with the premise that consciousness offers a uniquely Hard Problem. This premise can lead to radical speculative metaphysics such as pan-protopsychism (Chalmers) or epiphenomenal property dualism (early Jackson). It can also be used by researchers to justify ignoring advances in consciousness studies from other disciplines. However, not everyone agrees that consciousness poses a Hard Problem and instead offer explanations of consciousness in general (Clark, Dennett, Irvine, O’Brien and Opie, Prinz) or particular conscious experiences (G.Carruthers, de Vignemont, Frith and Hohwy).

Given that the existence of a Hard Problem is controversial and that it is supposed to lead to radical metaphysical conclusions we would expect that advocates of the existence of a Hard Problem would have considerable arguments in favour of their view. Often, however, the nature of problem is treated as self-evident and not argued for, despite the controversy. In this issue we wish to ask what arguments, if any, can be put forward that consciousness really does pose a uniquely hard problem and how they fare in the face of conceptual and empirical scrutiny.

Additionally work in developing theories of consciousness has led to a proliferation of hypotheses regarding the nature of consciousness…

Many papers may turn out to be wishing the problem away, actually, similar to a recent effort at a new theory of consciousness, along with pleas for more time (after decades).

Will we now be told that the problem is not difficult, but that no solution works at present?

The true difficulty here is that mechanist materialism requires that the solution be of a certain sort—a reduction of the mind to the activities of neurons as such. Such a solution will not likely ever be found. In just such a way, for centuries, people sought to square a circle, not understanding the nature of the problem, until someone demonstrated that the solution they were seeking was not possible, given the relationships between types of numbers.

Advances will more likely be made by recognizing the bran as a quantum system. See, for example, “Free will creates quantum physics, and not the other way around.”

If you have philosophy skills or credentials, you could try submitting a paper.

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3 Responses to Hard problem of consciousness not so hard?

  1. They ask that serious arguments showing that the problem of consciousness is “hard” be put forth. David Chalmers already did that. Indeed, he coined the term “Hard Problem” of consciousness and explained why he thought it was the hard problem rather than the easy problems (such as what part of the brain processes visual stimuli?).

    Not only has Chalmers explained why it is a hard problem, it is silly to ask him to explain why it is “hard.” If he can just explain the problem and no one offers a legitimate solution, then it is self-evident that it is hard. Chalmers did not call it hard in order to say we should just give up or that an easy solution might not be out there. He was merely trying to get people to stop claiming that they’d solved consciousness by pinpointing a part of the brain the lights up when we experience something. He is just trying to tell everyone that THAT is not the problem he is studying and that they should stop pretending that they’d made a huge advance in consciousness studies when they still haven’t even addressed the fundamental issue.

  2. Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52491.html

    The Hard Problem (Of Consciousness) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRG1fA_DQ9s

    Related note:

    Neuroscientist: “The Most Seamless Illusions Ever Created” – April 2012
    Excerpt: We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....sions.html

  3. This is shameless evolutionary propaganda at it’s height!

    Unless you already have a desire to believe it or are a non-thinking person who just accepts the word of scientists as gospel truth, most people will be able to see right through this claim.

    I think in the end, this kind of hype harms evolutionary science more than it helps it.

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