19 september 2020

today i (re)learned various scientific attempts to explain consciousness. here's a gif of dna being created and also a ted talk by david chalmers.

in the ted talk, chalmers summarizes consciousness research from the last 30 years. there are "easy" questions around consciousness (which parts of the brain are correlated with our conscious sensations like taste, touch, etc) and then there's the "hard problem of consciousness", which chalmers coined, and that's the million dollar question: why? why do we have subjective experience at all?

is there a scientific, brain-based, materialist theory of consciousness? can consciousness be explained by psychology which is then in turn explained by biology which is then in turn explained by chemistry which is then in turn explained by physics and the most fundamental laws of the universe? doesn't seem so. so chalmers presents a couple options:

as an aside, i like dan dennett's definition of postmodernism -- "there are no truths, only interpretation." also i think of reduction as "explaining away"