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Camp Statement

Go live Time : 26 September 2021, 12:47 AM
One possible way to present the hard problem of consciousness is to consider three seemingly plausible theses that are in an interesting tension. First, all the objects of physics and other natural sciences can be fully analyzed in terms of structure and relations, or simply, in structural terms. Second, consciousness is (or has) something over and above its structure and relations. Third, the existence and nature of consciousness can be explained in terms of natural sciences. Should the second thesis be incorrect and consciousness fully analyzable in structural terms, then finding the structure of consciousness in some patterns of neural activity (or perhaps in some linguistic-behavioral patterns) and studying the origin and nature of that structure would hopefully reveal us eventually allthere is to know about consciousness. On the other hand, if both the first and the second theses are true, it follows directly that consciousness cannot be an object of physics or other natural (or behavioral) sciences and hence its existence cannot be also explained by these sciences.

David Chalmers, the author of the hard problem of consciousness, accepts both the first and the second theses and draws also the conclusion mentioned above. He also adds the premise that what cannot be physically explained is not itself physical (Chalmers, 2003). Therefore he is convinced that the only solution to the hard problem is to endorse some sort of ontological dualism, most preferably a form of property dualism. He argues that traditional natural sciences or example neuroscience and cognitive science) can perhaps one day explain all the structural-relational properties of consciousness (for example in terms of neural, functional or informational structures and relations), but that consciousness has besides these also phenomenal properties that are in principle out of the reach of traditional scientific methods. However, a number of philosophers have argued that all forms of ontological dualism are philosophically highly problematic, and basically everyone agrees that it would be desirable, if possible, to find a solution to the hard problem without endorsing any form of ontological dualism.

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