The "hard problem" of consciousness is a dead end
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Consciousness and the feeling of existence have yet not been fully explained. There are interesting arguments from panpsychist as well as from eliminative materialistic (neuroscientific) positions. A panpsychist perspective is normally one where the innermost part of the physical world consists of some kind of mental entities or experiences, while the materialistic perspective claim such entities are only material (non-mental). In between these two positions there are numerous ideas how consciousness is to be explained. As long as no final explanation has been found, we can keep on presenting theories of mind. Philosophical argumentation will however not be sufficient to validate a specific standpoint. I argue in this paper that the problem of consciousness should not be isolated as a separate problem as argued by Chalmers (1995). He defines the hard problem, and also presents an outline of a theory of consciousness, claiming this covers possible solutions. Rupert Read (2008) argues the separation of the hard problem is based in the view presented by Descartes as the separation of body and mind. He says this separation only will prevent us from really finding an explanation. I claim it is not possible to infer the nature of consciousness from philosophical reasoning only, why isolating part of the problem out from such reasoning is a dead end. To understand conscious brain processes, we should strive to unify as many knowledge spheres as possible, not separate some parts as if it would be possible to tell within which sphere a solution is to be found. I am not arguing for a certain view but claim we need to be open to all possible explanations, and an Chalmers’ outline to a theory of consciousness does not at all fulfil the demands for a fundamental theory of consciousness.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 24 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-93055DiVA: diva2:745960
Subject / course
Stokke, Andreas, Universitetslektor
Sundström, Pär, Professor