The hard problem of consciousness is a problem of how physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective experiences of the mind and of the world. Goff advocates a radical solution to the Hard Problem of explaining how consciousness fits into the natural world. In Buddhism, it is actually claimed that profound meditation gives some kind of intuitive understanding of the momentary arising of consciousness, schematized in the doctrine of "dependent origination." Does the brain give rise to something other than brain, like a speaker radio gives rise to sound waves? I find the distinction between “hard” and “soft” problems illuminates more than anything how flabbergasted most people still are in contemplating crossing the objective/subjective divide. Consciousness is not fundamentally material; rather, matter is fundamentally conscious. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, Phil of Religion, Metaethics, and Normative Ethics. It is the subcomponent of the mind that confuses itself with the organism, when it is only it's cartographer. 01:14:20 The multiple worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and utilitarianism. This question is seldom properly asked, for reasons good and bad, but when asked it opens up avenues of research that promise to dissolve the hard problem and secure a scientifically sound theory of how … There is no who that imagines a self. Painting this as a problem specifically for materialist theories is misleading and wrong. How would we know the difference? I feel it useful in supplementing the meditative project of EXPERIENCING truth, especially in the habit of undermining unjustifiable dogma. There certainly seems a link between 'physical reality' and the qualia (this supplies the details that are "painted" in the qualia), but we don't know for sure if there's a causal link back from the qualia to physical reality. If the self is an illusion, a calorie-saving data-processing trick, then who is it who is being deluded or tricked? But the mechanism interests me greatly, what are your opinions about consciousness, and, is it actually a hard problem? I think that the idea of a hard problem of consciousness arises from a category mistake. This piece defends type-A physicalism, which is the view that there is no hard problem of consciousness because consciousness is not an ontologically primitive thing. There is no consensus about the status of the explanatory gap. Physicalists are divided on the question of whether there's a hard problem of consciousness. Zombies wouldn't think they were zombies. For example, Daniel Dennett (2005) argues that, on reflection, consciousness is functionally definable. You have to give a specific process or set of processes that answer the question "Given that I have a brain, why is it impossible for me to lack experience?". These two types of phenomena have fundamentally different types of ontology, so it's "hard" to give a causal explanation of how one gives rise to the other. My crude way of thinking about it is "how is it that a lump of matter created worlds? of mind people think the soft/hard distinction is a useful one. Neurosciences can explain our homeostatic regulative mechanisms with incredibly precise detail, but how "consciousness" as a range of emotions, wills, and understandings is not so easily reducible to chemical reactions and neural pathways. We didn’t need to know that when you saw a large feline predator of mostly orange coloring with black stripes, you were, strictly speaking, seeing a representation of a tiger. What makes it so hard? Joseph Levine argues that there is a special “explanatory gap” between consciousness and the physical (1983, 1993, 2001). The challenge of closing this explanatory gap is the hard problem. It also discusses Dennett's views on the hard problem of consciousness. (3) If problem (1) and (2) are solved, I don’t see why other theories of consciousness wouldn’t be able to do the exact same thing and claim that they solve the hard problem. In essence, how do we know we're not zombies? 10 thoughts on “ Why Consciousness is Not a Hard Problem ” Anonymous 6 November, 2019. 01:09:40 The hard problem of consciousness. Press J to jump to the feed. It doesn't solve the hard problem of consciousness. This seems to indicate that many so-called conscious decisions are actually subconscious and our conscious awareness is only being informed of the decision. His works have proven to be provocative and have garnered a polarised response. First person experiences or qualia are the essentially subjective, personal feelings or experiences that each of us have (e.g. David Chalmers first formulated the problem in his paper Facing up to the problem of consciousness (1995) and expanded upon it in his book The Conscious Mind (1996). The hard problem is, to use the words of Annaka Harris, the question of "how experience arise[s] out of non-sentient matter". The conscious part of us is actually a representational process. For example its role in the choice to move to a different city, as opposed to realizing that you just scratched an itch, or the more we train ourselves in the daily practices of mindfulness. The problem is divided into a hard and soft problem. Even as of today- there is no simple theory of explanation describing mind-body issues. Put simply, it's the mind-body problem reincarnated. For millennia on end, humans have pondered about the nature of one of the most puzzling aspects of our existence, consciousness. 01:29:36 Where to find and follow Sean . And that tells how little most of us still understand. I'm sure it's incomplete and fabricated and maybe lame and unreliable and maybe a thousand other contemptible things, but whatever it is, I'm still experiencing it. I think Alan Wallace is very right when he urges science to respect and take seriously this kind of deep meditative introspection, because it might help us with at least beginning to formulate the problem. I do think the physicalist approach has some distinct advantages though. Posted Dec 07, 2020 Dennett's contributions to consciousness studies are quite extensive. What is it that emerges from the brain? We don’t experience the neural underpinning of consciousness, and thus if what we experience is what is real, consciousness is inexplicable and magical. Selves are constructed and in some sense artificial and illusory — as a practicing Buddhist, this is plain as orange juice, though penetrating the illusion takes a lot of hard work. The brain is just meat, but how do we get from there to culture, religion, politics, and art? What makes it so hard? If you want evidence that we are wrong about consciousness, I'd point to everything we know from externally investigating the operations of the brain, none of which even suggests dualism is correct and strongly suggests that it isn't. What is qualia, in a physical sense, and how does it come about? The hard problem of consciousness refers to the fact that we can learn all of this and still not know for certain that you are not a "philosophical zombie." Without consciousness the mind-body problem would be less interesting and with consciousness it make “hard problem” even harder and full of mysteries. Levine argues that a good scientific explanation ought to deductively entail what it explains, allowing us to infer the presen… Just because we can’t conceive of how consciousness can emerge from the description of the easy problems like attention and memory etc., doesn’t mean it never will (Churchland, 1996). In his book, Thinking About Consciousness (2002), which elaborates a physicalist view, Papineau argues that consciousness “seems mysterious not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way.” In short, it’s all in our heads. The soft or "easy" part is how the brain might categorize and identify things, because this is seen has a method problem or a computational problem. But it has a causal link to physical reality... we don't know that for sure. So the "really hard problem" that he proposes is whether there ever could exist a piece of evidence that would settle what we know as the hard problem (or convince people, as Dennett believes, that the hard problem doesn't really exist). Why don't we just input, process, and output? Its main thesis is that no such things as selves exist in the world: Nobody ever was or had a self. For starters, their theories necessarily apply to observable entities (brains) which they can manipulate experimentally and examine in greater fidelity as technology improves. You can have a perfect account of how every atom, molecule, cell, tissue, organ, etc works but still not be able to know what it is for that subject to see blue, for example. On his view, once the easy problems are solved, there will be nothing about consciousness and the physical left to explain. The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why and how sentient organisms have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how and why it is that some internal states are subjective, felt states, such as heat or cold, rather than objective states, as in the workings of a thermostat or a toaster. The solution is that the “self” is an illusion. Everything we know in science dealing with the natural phenomena, every law, discovery, explanation... everything is about some kind of motion, ultimately explained by the dynamics of the underlying elements. Main Site; Forums; HLP on Discord; HLP on Facebook; HLP on IRC. Why do not these processes take place “in the dark,” without any accompanying states of experience? Citations: Sean’s website. Note, 22 Jul. Dan Dennett has argued the following here: "The strategy of divide and conquer is usually an excellent one, but it all depends on how you do the carving. It cannot. It illustrates how inconceivable bridging that explanatory gap has seemed to be. It clearly isn't matter or energy. The hard part is working out how the brain comes to make "qualia" or qualities, such as "redness" or the feeling of love or beethoven, or the sensation of sweetness - or the sensation of what it feels like to be you! I think you have misunderstood the hard problem of conciousness. Think about it - from where does "awareness of redness and redness" come from? It isn't the thing being experienced that's at issue, it's the fact that it's being experienced. [iv] It seems the true limits of our freedom are not external to our bodies, as the determinism misperception implies, and therefore the autonomy of our human entity is not externally determined (only confined), but that it is consciousness itself that has been shown to be increasingly more limited than traditionally expected. But wait, say others, the hard problem is not so easily dismissed. HLP . I speculate on the only way I could find universal consciousness rationally plausible elsewhere. ”Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” We just happened to be born in “technological” equipment like that. But you see with it. But this only reveals how deeply difficult the problem is, because, well, to put it in Zen lingo, who is it that imagines a self? Because you cannot recognize your self-model as a model, it is transparent: you look right through it. Reddit; Summary. You don’t see it. The assumptions that we have about how the world is, what reality is. This is a pretty solid paraphrase, although I think Chalmers uses the terms "soft" and "hard" in a more nuanced way in "The Conscious Mind." Humans typically learn about the world in all its counterintuitive glory by interacting with it, and neuroscientists have the best vantage point for poking at things. 01:27:29 Sean’s metaethical position. We have various limited sense organs through which, from an existence far richer than we can perceive, information about the environment is taken in and an estimation of reality constructed. Ah, I really wish the hard problem of consciousness could be so easily resolved in a single post, but alas! But we didn’t need to know that to survive. If you had a brain tempted to make the likely correct philosophical intuition that your experience of reality is actually virtual, those extra milliseconds could cost you your life while in danger, and in most cases, if not under direct threat, until very recently the extra caloric cost of that higher order thought process of a representation of a representation would just make you hungrier faster without much evolutionary benefit. 0:04:05 DC: The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how physical processes in the brain somehow give rise to subjective experience. It's an old chestnut of a problem, but it's really hard to figure out how it can exist, what can cause it or how it can possibly emerge from zeros and ones, or from neurons that flash on and off. There is still disagreement between material brain and how it relates to the subjective world experience. Advocates of transhumanism envision a future in which we achieve immortality by “mind-uploading” our consciousness and identity onto digital substrates. we are equally naive realists in our understanding of our internal world. my subreddits. A thoughtful commenter at Reddit responds, Life and mind in the universe by George Wald 50 Nobel scientists who reject materialism The nature of things by Matthew Raspanti The hard problem of consciousness by David Chalmers The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences by Eugene Wigner Mathematical universe hypothesis by Max Tegmark The physical world as a virtual reality by Brian Whitworth Digital… Of course, the hard problem of consciousness is simply a subset of a larger problem, the mind-body problem. The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how we experience qualia or phenomenal experiences, such as seeing, hearing, and feeling, and knowing what they are. Let's not give the dualists a pass just because their view has the quaint charm of an Amish community living in modern Pennsylvania. What to do IS the important question, and the important answers we find in our lives, as existing things. Consciousness is harder than other problems posed by the mind, the long-haired man argued, such as vision and memory. In exactly the same way that software operates on hardware. Why We've Failed to Solve the Hard Problem of Consciousness Our traditional model example, cortical vision, isn't intrinsically conscious. edit subscriptions. That something more is a philosophical undertaking and the goal is to find a unified theory of consciousness that encompasses explanatory models for (solutions to) soft/easy and hard problems. We don’t have bodies, bodies have us. Consciousness, he argues, is not a physical process, but an intrinsic feature of all physical reality. We are not just naive realists in our understanding of the external world, but clearly (especially?) Is there a lot of philosophers who reject the existence of the hard problem? Like the hard problem of consciousness, the hard problem of matter cannot be solved by experiment and observation or by gathering more physical detail. /r/askphilosophy aims to provide serious, well-researched answers to philosophical questions. (Chalmers), In other words, if you want to say consciousness is physical, you have to explain where it is. David Chalmers taxonomizes the two main camps of the debate as "type-A" and "type-B" physicalists. I recommend Thomas Metzinger’s Graduate Council lecture at UC Berkeley for a quick overview of the self-model theory of subjectivity. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the askphilosophy community. All that ever existed were conscious self-models that could not be recognized as models. But it has a causal link to physical reality, thus it must be defined as physical. It is not that consciousness has no meaningful role to play in a our behavior, but rather it seems to play a larger role the more reflection is reflected in any given behavior. Saying the self is an illusion does not explain why we have experience (as in phenomenal consciousness, qualitative experience, what it's likeness). Hard problem of consciousness? This explains the research that increasingly is indicating the extraordinary extent to which seemingly conscious decisions have been made before subjects think they consciously made these decisions. I don't understand it, is it trying to explain a subjective experience objectively? Actually I think you misunderstood the solution. I generally agree with all your points, but another one wants making. Either you can be wrong about your own consciousness or zombies aren't possible, which means solving the easy problems requires solving the hard problem. we are sloppy in our use of the term "self. Let me describe two somewhat similar strategic proposals, and compare them to Chalmers' recommendation.". Some have eyes tuned to a different slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is now clearly false. Some use echolocation, some are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, etc. The assumptions that we have about how the world is, what reality is. EDIT: I am not implying that there is no subjective experience, only stating that that experience is not identical to the system from which that experience arises, i.e. And if that subjective experience isn't an undeniable fact, then nothing is. Chalmer's (1995) attempt to sort the easy' problems of consciousness from thereally hard' problem is not, I think, a useful contribution to research, but a major misdirector of attention, an illusion-generator. Consciousness is Still the "Hard Problem" of Neuroscience We’ve made a little progress, perhaps in applications, but not a lot of progress in understanding the hard problem. What is ‘hard’, claims the man of the p-zombies, is to account for phenomenal experience, or what philosophers usually call ‘qualia’: the ‘what is it like’, first-person quality of consciousness. The "hard problem" of consciousness, according to which scientific models cannot explain the "qualia" or "first order experiences", is misguided if it is used to imply that we need more than structures and functions to explain conscious experience. Metzinger is a dogmatic materialist, and this seems to be the implicit position of nearly everyone who is interested in science and doesn't want to come off as a mystical quack. I absolutely agree that the brain gives rise to mind, and that the mind is a projection. Chalmers' term, coined in the 1990s, applied to an older problem that's been around for along time, the mind-body problem. Moreover, like all theories of consciousness, IIT slams into the solipsism problem (which is at the heart of Aaronson’s critique). ", which I feel applies to both internal, interpersonal, global, and historical worlds. 01:21:16 The importance of being charitable in conversation. ", Any materialistic answer to the hard problem has to answer this: "Why do not these processes take place “in the dark,” without any accompanying states of experience?" This is the first paragraph of his book, Being No One: “This is a book about consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective. Yeah. Dr. Joy Hirsch. The solution to the hard problem is rather simple. The phenomenal self is not a thing, but a process—and that subjective experience of being someone emerges if a conscious information-processing system operates under a transparent self-model. 2017: … IRCd Client Links. Interestingly enough, the descriptions of many mystical experiences, are cast in terms of the abandonment of the “self.” I hypothesize that meditative practices, in witnessing the mind as an object, are stepping stones to a higher order consciousness, one that implicitly recognizes Metzinger’s scientific perspective. The lack of a general theory of consciousness, of how it comes to be that there is something that it is like to be, was really the last rational bastion of opposition to the scientific assertion that consciousness emerges from the brain. For simple reasons of caloric efficiency, to survive, humans have only needed to assume that they directly experience reality. They argue that the hard problem reduces to a combination of easy problems or derives from misconceptions about the nature of consciousness. The nature of agency itself is thus tied to the extent to which modern neuroscience may or may not be indicating that consciousness itself and hence all of rationality might function in the brain as a special kind of sense perception of the world. The problem is why these things are not just empty information but take the shape of qualia. Has Steven espoused any particular views when it comes to the Hard Problem of Consciousness? The hard problems are those that seem to resist those methods. The so-called "hard problem of consciousness" isn't a legitimate concern with cognitive neuroscientists, and in fact is a term used almost exclusively among philosophers like Chalmers, those explaining why he is wrong, and some interested laypeople who have unfortunately been misled about the actual importance of Chalmers "hard problem" in the field of neuroscience. popular-all-random-users | AskReddit-news-tifu-funny-todayilearned-pics-aww-worldnews-personalfinance-Jokes -gaming-videos-science-OldSchoolCool-television-movies-mildlyinteresting-explainlikeimfive-Showerthoughts-gifs-TwoXChromosomes-LifeProTips-space … It has been so hard to see for certain evolutionary and cultural reasons. Sean’s Twitter . It's still a difficult problem, but we think humanity has the chops to solve it eventually. The so-called hard problem of consciousness is a chimera, a distraction from the hard question of consciousness, which is once some content reaches consciousness, ‘then what happens?’. I think any attempt to describe or debunk the hard problem of consciousness without mentioning qualia is obviously misguided, and I can't take it seriously. Please watch the Thomas Metzinger and Jeff Hawkins talks: Not-self, in Pali called anatta, has been the most central and most emphasized part of the Buddhist psychological teaching since the time of the Buddha. Only a what. That is the hard problem. How could this be? Please watch the Thomas Metzinger and Jeff Hawkins talks: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mthDxnFXs9k, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozFn2d45tg&list=PL032B233624CCC2CE&feature=mh_lolz, Combine those with Ramachandran's paper on Qualia below and that's where I'm trying to figure I am on the subject: http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/3331489/lawsofqualia-pdf-december-6-2011-6-33-am-634k. This objective pursuit of the understanding of consciousness is just a more readily transmissible form of our best guesses at DESCRIPTIONS of truth. We do not directly experience reality. Why do we feel, see, hear, or have any kind of conscious experience if it's just information being passed around? Other species construct a different map of the same external world from different sets of senses. The problem isn't how our mind is structured with things like self or memory etc. The hard problem of consciousness refers to the fact that we can learn all of this and still not know for certain that you are not a "philosophical zombie." Existentialists are obviously concerned with the nature of our existence, and what to do about it. The "hard problem of consciousness" HLP Network. On the other side of the fence are those who argue the distinction between the ‘hard problem’ and the ‘easy problem’ is at best ill-advised and, at worst, plain dangerous. David Chalmers taxonomizes the two main camps of the debate as "type-A" and "type-B" physicalists. I'll add to the preceding answers that Chalmers also says that soft/easy problems can be (and are, to some extent) solved by cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and other branches of science whereas "something more is needed" to solve the hard problem. Let’s say that I’m a global workspace theorist. We take as axiomatic the fact that reality is composed of parts, because that's what we perceive. You say the solution is simple, but you don't offer anything close to a solution. It's more like, how can physical events in the brain (third person ontology) give rise to the phenomenal events of consciousness (first person ontology). I'll add to the preceding answers that Chalmers also says that soft/easy problems can be (and are, to some extent) solved by cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and other branches of science whereas "something more is needed" to solve the hard problem. Edit: Thinkahol, why do we experience anything at all? 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