KEY ASPECTS to the Hierarchical Systems Theory of consciousness (HST)
The dual properties of consciousness are:
1. Phenomenal (emergent property of physics); and
Phenomenal properties are further subdivided in the HST model. The nature of this subdivision is reductively explained by detailing a hierarchy of dynamic relations whose properties and characteristics necessarily evolve in a physical universe (http://mind-phronesis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Art1HST4_4_13.pdf)
3. HST determines that the phenomenon of consciousness is an emergent property.
4. HST explains the functional properties and dynamics of the phenomenon of consciousness.
5. HST demonstrates that the hard problem of consciousness is not the problem of experience; and
6. HST implies that a full explanation of consciousness requires a theory that also explains the noumenon of consciousness (http://mind-phronesis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/HSTpt3noumenon.pdf).
7. The materialist, monist, and dualist can make claim to HST. The claimants views will differ in their understanding of how the noumena of consciousness relate to the phenomenal.
WHAT QUESTIONS DOES HST CLAIM TO SOLVE ABOUT CONSCIOUSNESS?
1. Whilst rejecting Chalmers' statement that "the really hard problem of consciousness is the problem of experience" (1995 - http://consc.net/papers/facing.html), HST satisfies Chalmers' (1995 - http://consc.net/papers/facing.html) double aspect theory of information principle, (which requires that information is fundamental to consciousness, and corresponds to physical and to phenomenal features that are isomorphic - Section 7.3, para 4); Chalmers' principle of organisational invariance, (which states that any two systems with the same functional organisation will have qualitatively identical experiences. Examples of such systems might include computer systems - Section 7.2, para 1); Chalmers' principle of structural coherence, (which requires that the processes that explain awareness link structurally to the basis of consciousness by determining the relationship between that of which we are aware (and can report upon) and that of which we experience - Section 7.3).
In its explanation,
2. HST explains why and how the first-person perspective exists; explains how phenomenally conscious states have a subjective dimension; how they have feel; why there is something which it is like to undergo them; and why the properties distinctive of phenomenal consciousness seem to their subjects to be ineffable.
3. HST explains how and why consciousness evolved.
4. HST provides a means of understanding the unique and distinguishing characteristics of phenomenally consciousness humans.
WHAT QUESTIONS DOES HST NOT CLAIM TO SOLVE ABOUT CONSCIOUSNESS?
1. HST clarifies what is required to explain how and why the first-person exists as distinct from how and why a unique identity of self exists. However, it is incapable of explaining why a unique identity of self exists; where 'identity of self' means that which discriminates one individual self as he/she experiences him/her self - Alternatively, why it is that he or she happens to be that particular self at a certain point in time and space 13.7 billion years after the big bang rather than any other individual in a point in time and space; past or future.
2. HST does not address the mind body problem
3. HST does not explain the mechanisms of neural processing and therefore;
4. Does not have a solution to the Explanatory Gap, which would entail explaining how HST relates to physiological mechanisms. For example, HST does not address why "we have feelings of pain", relates to a mechanism, where "pain is the firing of C fibres" (for example).