Could consciousness be a brain process?

Dualism may not be false, but it isn't required

Why is consciousness so perplexing to so many? Perhaps, owing to our being conscious, we regard ourselves as experts on the matter, and it seems to us blindingly obvious that consciousness could not possibly be a brain state or process. We have a front-row seat, an unmediated first-hand awareness of what conscious experiences are like, and we know well-enough what brain processes are like. The two could not be more different.

In the hands of philosophers, this sentiment is transmuted into the doctrine that consciousness cannot be identified with, or ‘reduced to’, anything physical. The reduction in question must be a relation among explanations, or predicates, not as it is sometimes cast, a relation among properties. What would it be to reduce something to something else?  If the As are not reducible to the Bs, explanations of the As could not be derived from explanations of the Bs, nor could A

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ida sanka 2 September 2021

Great! didnt know about this before, I had doubts but thanks for clarifying.    tattoo removal cost

Johnny O'Neill 25 May 2021

In broad terms I don’t disagree. Consciousness is not perplexing. However, allow me to point out that 'redness' does not reside either in me (or you) or a 'tomato.' If we must talk in terms of 'residing' then redness resides in the interaction between the 'tomato' and that which experiences the tomato as 'red.' All qualities exist as 'interaction.' Even such things as mass. We can certainly express mass in terms of numbers and units, and thus mass seems to ‘exist’ as a quality residing in the tomato, but to put a number to it is to experience a number, not mass. To experience ‘mass,’ ‘itself’? Go pick a tomato…that would be a start, anyway. Even to measure mass objectively requires interaction…with the measuring stick. ‘Things’ exist in relation to other ‘things.’

kyoung21b 13 March 2020

I found the comparison with the properties of a table illuminating, but perhaps not in the sense intended. Describing e.g. the hardness or the shape of the table does seem to require something as remarkable as describing consciousness, relative to the quarks and leptons composing the table. How to completely describe how that set of quarks and leptons acquired the relational properties it did relative to the set of quarks and leptons that comprise me would seem to require elements that (according to current physical theory) go all the way back to fluctuations in the initial density of matter. And how that particular set of fluctuations arose seems a bit mysterious (agency may not be an answer but speculations about multiverses containing not only all sets of fundamental laws but all sets of initial conditions given those laws also seem a bit baroque). So though we humans like to think of the explanation of consciousness as the "hard problem" it feels to me like the attempt to describe any "emergent" property suffers a similar fate.