- Sub-title: "Consciousness is neither a spooky mystery nor an illusory belief. It’s a valid and causally efficacious biological reality."
- For the full text, see Aeon: Pigliucci - Consciousness is real,
- Response to "Frankish (Keith) - The Consciousness Illusion".
→ "Nagel (Thomas) - What is it Like to Be a Bat?",
→ "Chalmers (David) - The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory",
→ Aeon: Video - Chalmers: The philosophy of virtual reality
→ "Strawson (Galen) - The Consciousness Deniers",
→ "Calef (Scott) - Dualism and Mind",
→ "Dennett (Daniel) - Consciousness Explained",
→ "Dennett (Daniel) - Elbow Room - The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting",
→ "Churchland (Paul) & Churchland (Patricia) - On the Contrary: Critical Essays, 1987 - 1997",
→ "Searle (John) - The Rediscovery of the Mind",
→ Image Formation within the Eye (Ray Diagram)
- Author’s conclusion:-
- Similarly1 with all mental phenomena, including both access and phenomenal consciousness. Even though there is nothing spooky about it (bye-bye to any form of dualism), specific numbers and arrangements of neurons seem not to be sufficient to generate those phenomena. The involved neurons also need to be made of (and produce) the right stuff: it is not just how they are arranged in the brain that does the trick, it also takes certain specific physical and chemical properties that carbon-based cells have, silicon-based2 alternatives might or might not have (it’s an open empirical question3), and cardboard, say, definitely doesn’t have.
- It follows that an explanation of phenomenal consciousness will come (if it will come – there is no assurance that, just because we want to know something, we will eventually figure out a way of actually knowing it) from neuroscience and evolutionary4 biology, once our understanding of the human brain will be comparable with our understanding of the inner workings of our own computers. We will then see clearly the connection between the underlying mechanisms and the user-friendly, causally efficacious representations (not illusions!) that allow us to efficiently work with computers and to survive and reproduce in our world as biological organisms.
- The analogy is with the emergence of wetness from appropriate aggregates of water molecules in appropriate conditions.
- While I’m sympathetic to this claim, just what empirical data would validate the claim?
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)