Stud. 2, 200–219. Philos. From the group of philosophers mentioned above the proponents of that position are Chalmers (1996), Russell (1927), Seager (2006). In other words, they argue that there could be no relations without some fundamental relata (for example Esfeld, 2004). Still, according to the view of Chalmers and others who believe that qualia are irreducibly qualitative, even if we could get from mere unexplained correlations between some neural activity pattern and consciousness to the detailed structural identity (or structural isomorphism) between the two, we could still not establish full identity between them because qualia would be essentially non-structural and could not be, therefore, identified with any structures. In psychological and phenomenal terms that meaning is, as mentioned before, a vast network of various unconscious associations. The Analysis of Matter. Since I am denying the ideal positive conceivability of zombies and inverted qualia, I will not examine any of such arguments here.). J. Strawson, G. (2006). There's no hard problem of consciousness for the same reason there's no hard problem of life: consciousness is just a high-level word that we use to refer to lots of detailed processes, and it doesn't mean anything in addition to those processes. Namely, it would be logically inconsistent to hold that some fully structural phenomenon could be somehow different or even absent in an occasion where its structure is present. By an explicit neural representation they mean an increased activity of a “smallish group of neurons” (most likely between 100 and 1000) situated close together. J. (2002). And if their existence was philosophically problematic, it would not solve the hard problem but simply expand it to some other phenomena besides consciousness. 242–244). doi: 10.1080/09515080500355251. It has been also argued that there is an unbridgeable epistemic gap between neural activity and qualia. Namely, they hold that the existence of our immediate conscious experience is known to us directly and that we can also “see” that our consciousness is something over and above its structure – it is arguably something that has a structure, not something that merely is a structure. Hutto, D., and Myin, E. (2013). Another philosophical view that has deeper and more substantial resemblance to the theory of Crick and Koch is the so called introspective inaccuracy hypotheses, put forward by Pereboom (2011). The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Since different networks of unconscious (or vaguely conscious) associations would have different influences on the planning modules, the person could identify different networks of unconscious associations without having conscious access to their structures. Arguably, there would be no way of telling if someone’s qualia are inverted, for there would be no physical or functional signs of it. But according to the hypothesis, (most of) those components would be initially unconscious and “qualialess” – they would acquire qualia only at the moment they become conscious (when the activity of the corresponding essential nodes reaches the threshold and activates their own networks of unconscious associations). Therefore I will consider next a situation that could be, in my opinion, interpreted as having a direct glimpse at the internal structure of an apparently monadic quale. Cognitive models of consciousness (Barrs 1988) are sometimes described as potential solutions to the hard problem. On the other hand, the idea that consciousness has some features over and above its structural and relational properties has much less supporters and has in fact been strongly criticized by many (for example by most of the functionalists, behaviorists, and representationalists). Psychol. Reprinted (1954). It has been also argued that there is a fundamental and irreducible difference between objective and subjective knowledge about consciousness. Loorits K(1). On the proper level of organization, on the other hand, we would find a pattern that simply has a structure consciousness. The “Hard Problem of Consciousness” is the problem of how physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective experience of the mind and of the world. The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Moreover, those internal structures can be identified which certain neural patterns. Should the second thesis be incorrect and consciousness fully analyzable in structural terms, then finding the structure of consciousness in some patterns of neural activity (or perhaps in some linguistic-behavioral patterns) and studying the origin and nature of that structure would hopefully reveal us eventually all there is to know about consciousness. The most common ways to introduce the hard problem are intuitively appealing but rather obscure in meaning. Nevertheless, the exercise would allow us to see (assuming it has been fully successful) that the auditory quale, which we used to believe to be as monadic and ineffable as phenomenal redness, has actually an internal structure that more or less determines its specific phenomenal character. Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds Without Content. To sum up, according to the framework introduced by Crick and Koch, qualia are highly complex and perfectly public structural-relational properties of some cognitive systems, even though those systems themselves perceive them as monadic and private. Then, supposedly, we would understand intuitively why the redness of the red quale and the greenness of the green quale appear to us the way they do and not the other way around. As Eddington put it, “Our knowledge of the nature of the objects treated in physics consists solely of readings of pointers [on instrument dials] and other indicators.” What do we know of what matter intrinsically is beyond how it affects our instruments? Put informally, the main idea of scientific object structuralism is that every piece of relata in whichever network of relations studied by natural sciences can be analyzed further in relational terms. Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism. Conscious. An impressive attempt to answer it is made by Revonsuo (2006). The list of similar arguments could be continued. That is why these networks would appear to her monadic and their differences qualitative (even though they are in fact highly complex and in principle analyzable in structural terms). It also answers the question of why is there something “it is like to be” conscious: if “qualia are simply those properties that characterize conscious states according to what it is like to have them,” as (Chalmers (2003, p. 135) puts it, then neuroscientifically intelligible structural account of qualia is also neuroscientifically intelligible structural account of why there is something it is like to be conscious. In other words, in those lower levels we would find some patterns of neural activity that correlate with the content of our consciousness, but we would not understand why those correlations occur and what their nature is. And then, as predicted by the hypothesis and suggested by Dennett’s example, a subject would recognize them as components of the original quale and also realize that she was not conscious of them before. Loading ... Hard Problem of Consciousness — David Chalmers - Duration: 9:19. Likewise, the inverted qualia would be no more conceivable than a sound that has the overtone structure of a guitar sound, but sounds nevertheless trumpetish. Mermin, D. N. (1998). Both approaches are reviewed and found wanting. 13, 3–31. However, the framework of Crick and Koch allows us interpreting Dennett’s example as a situation in which a small part of the unconscious structure (the overtone structure) of an auditory quale becomes conscious. Consciousness and neuroscience. Of course, it should be recognized that the view I have proposed here is far from forced upon us by the evidence. Experience and consciousness in the shadow of descartes. But once we succeed in analyzing qualia in fully structural terms and identifying those structures with certain neural activity patterns, the question of why qualia exist can be seen as a question of why those neural activity patterns exist. Therefore, the most generally put, the essence of the hard problem is that some properties or aspects of consciousness (however we decide to call them) appear to be inexplicable in the framework of traditional natural sciences. doi: 10.1080/17588921003731586. For example, when I have a visual perception of a red apple, I have a direct epistemic access to many structural features of my visual experience: the size and shape of the perceived apple, for instance. Such neural pattern is analyzable in fully structural terms and thereby the hard problem is solved. The rhetorical reason is the following: the formulation I have chosen summarizes nicely some central ideas about the hardness of the hard problem. doi: 10.1119/1.18955, Nagel, T. (1974). The above example is important, for it helps us understand intuitively why our qualia have so peculiarly specific natures. 5:237. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00237. Dennett, who is famously known for denying the existence of qualia, uses the above example to demonstrate how confused we are about the nature of our sensory perceptions. Ignorance and Imagination: The Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness. Thus consciousness as a whole can be seen as a complex neural pattern that misperceives some of its own highly complex structural properties as monadic and qualitative. Photograph: Conde Nast Archive/Corbis, participated in the Greenland consciousness cruise referred to in your article (. If you look at the brain from the outside, you see this extraordinary machine: an organ consisting of 84 billion neurons that fire … In other words, my aim is to present the theory of Crick and Koch as a coarse and hypothetical but fully structural description of a natural phenomenon that would be recognized at the same time as a description of phenomenal consciousness and a description of certain neural activity. Lockwood, M. (1989). Therefore it is interesting that Pereboom does not mention the work of Crick and Koch or any other neurobiological structural account of qualia. The hard problem of consciousness has been often claimed to be unsolvable by the methods of traditional empirical sciences. Churchland, P. M. (1986). In order to have a subjective knowledge about some individual consciousness, on the other hand, one would have to be a cognitive system that has certain substructure of that individual consciousness. doi: 10.1080/09515080120109388, Lamme, V. A. F. (2010). Rev. (It has been argued that from the above described conceivability would follow many important metaphysical facts, including the non-physical nature of consciousness. Pereboom, D. (2011). Chalmers, D. (1996). Therefore, according to the hypothesis, the totality of all the explicit neural representations has a detailed and exact correlation with the content of the person’s consciousness. Cortex 8, 97–107. Nevertheless, they are not denying the obvious fact that structural patterns in nature are often organized in a semi-hierarchical manner. I participated in the Greenland consciousness cruise referred to in your article (The I in mind, 21 January). Cambridge: The MIT Press. Similarly, according to Balduzzi and Tononi (2009), each individual quale is a certain “shape” in a qualia space – a shape that embodies certain set of informational relationships. Philos. Psychol., 18 March 2014
Chalmers’ meta-problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining “problem reports”; i.e. The combination problem asks: how do micro-conscious entities combine into a higher-level macro-consciousness? The Solution to The Hard Problem of Consciousness. 1 Another problem, which has been identified recently by David Chalmers and dubbed ‚the hard problem™, concerns explanation. One seemingly substantial difference between the views of Pereboom and Crick and Koch is that (Pereboom(2011, p. 14) suggests that phenomenal properties might not actually have any qualitative nature, while Crick and Koch are explicitly realists about qualia and their qualitative nature while denying simply that qualia are fundamentally qualitative. Serious Science 70,344 views. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). Here I present a mind-object identity theory based on a straightforward hypothesis: One’s experience of an object is identical with the object itself. Arguably, the structure of such bundle could in principle turn out to be identical with a structure of a certain pattern of neural activity, which would be in principle accessible by methods of future neuroscience (even Chalmers, 1995, 2003, believes that the structure of consciousness is identical with some informational structure in our brains), but the qualitative properties of qualia could not. And as far as I know, no one has yet demonstrated that any ordinary objects of natural sciences have (or could have) such properties. Jackson, F. (1986). Cereb. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. tential solutions to the meta-problem. PLoS Comput. I am also aware that the ideas described above are typically used as parts of the arguments against physicalism and not as formulations of the hard problem itself. Stud. For my purposes it is actually enough to recognize the problem I have formulated as a philosophical problem that is related to the hard problem in a simple and straightforward way which I will specify below. The hard problem of consciousness has been often claimed to be unsolvable by the methods of traditional empirical sciences. Copyright © 2014 Loorits. However, systems described by His position is sometimes referred to as causal essentialism. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Behav. Consciousness then should be our starting point in trying to work out what matter is, rather than something we try to squeeze in as an afterthought. The peculiar phrase “embodied in her genes” means simply that not all the unconscious associations are formed during a person’s lifetime as a result of her interaction with the environment, but that some of them are innate: programmed by the evolution, so to speak. Then the person becomes conscious of the corresponding aspect and its rich and specific meaning (the quale), but stays ignorant of the single unconscious associations composing that meaning (the components and structure of the quale). Among numerous supporters of very different forms of scientific object structuralism there are both defenders and critics of ontological dualism, and moreover, even though the position is often presented in the context of philosophy of mind (for example Russell, 1927; Chalmers, 1996; Seager, 2006), it has been also frequently put forward in a much broader contexts of philosophy of science and metaphysics (for example Shoemaker, 1994; Ladyman and Ross, 2007). Namely, the only reason for us to believe that the phenomenal guitarishness was monadic and not compositional, was that we felt it was monadic and not compositional. The hard problem is, accordingly, a problem of the existence of certain properties or aspects of consciousness which cannot be analyzed in terms of functions. Noûs 28, 21–38. Similarly, Chalmers (2003) rejects physicalism on the grounds that every physical phenomenon can be analyzed in terms of structure and dynamics, but that consciousness has certain properties or aspects which cannot be analyzed in such terms. I hope that the above presented ideas help also clarify the nature of that difference. It has been argued that all the objects of empirical sciences can be fully analyzed in structural terms but that consciousness is (or has) something over and above its structure. It has been often argued in Wittgensteinian or Quinean fashion that the concept of private object is philosophically highly problematic because absolutely private objects could have no role in language or in any of our theories. It has been argued that all the objects of empirical sciences can be fully analyzed in structural terms but that consciousness is (or has) something over and above its structure. Proc. To sum up, my strategy is based on a simple idea, a conditional, which I believe to be undeniable: If a phenomenon is analyzable in fully structural terms, then explaining the origin and nature of the structure of that phenomenon amounts to explaining the origin and nature of the phenomenon itself. Shoemaker (1994) argues in a similar spirit that causal relations and causal structures are the only thing ontologically fundamental. An important phase in every careful presentation of the hard problem is therefore specifying the meanings of the obscure expressions used in those intuitively appealing introductions. Chalmers, D. (2003). The description of phenomenal consciousness is recognized, when the structure is described in terms of unconscious associations and illustrated with examples like the one borrowed form Dennett. The main idea of Stoljar is, in a nutshell, that we are scientifically ignorant about the nature of consciousness and that this is why we fail to see how consciousness could be reducible to anything physical (or non-experiential, as Stoljar puts it). Qualia: the geometry of integrated information. Hist. From here we could continue with wilder speculations and imagine a technique or a device that could help us become conscious of some associations that are essential components of our color qualia. Phenomenal character. I will argue that the threat of dualism can be avoided and the hard problem can be solved by accepting the first and the third theses while rejecting the second one. Therefore, in a sense, there truly is an epistemic gap, but it should not be thought of as a necessary gap in our scientific knowledge, for it is always a gap in some particular cognitive system’s individual knowledge. Besides explaining the (non-absolute) privacy of qualia, Crick and Koch also offer an excellent account of the apparently monadic nature of qualia. To avoid confusion, it should be recognized that the main idea and strategy of Crick and Koch are actually very different from the one of Stoljar. Revonsuo, A. Many say that in a few years it will turn out that consciousness is just another emergent phenomenon, “like traffic jams or hurricanes or life, and we’ll figure it out.” 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. If little physical things can come together and form more significant physical entities, like human beings, it stands to reason that little mental things can come together and create more prominent spiritual bodies in absolutely everything. It is important to notice that if the theory of Crick and Koch is approximately true, then the above speculation is not merely a thought experiment but an empirical prediction – an actual experiment for the future scientists to design. First, all the objects of physics and other natural sciences can be fully analyzed in terms of structure and relations, or simply, in structural terms. The main reason why I have chosen to focus on the theory of Crick and Koch is that I find their approach intuitively particularly appealing, for it allows us to understand the hypothetical structural nature of an individual quale both in neural and in phenomenal terms. 1, 204–240. Subjective knowledge about certain consciousness is hence always a particular substructure of that very consciousness. In this podcast I give an account of my theory at the level of popular science. A fully structural account (in the sense that it does not contain any irreducibly non-structural elements) of consciousness and qualia together with a speculative, but plausible theory of how such structure is actually (identical to) the structure of a certain neural activity pattern is, in my understanding, nothing less than a solution to the hard problem. can be all described in structural terms, even though the above creatures themselves would fail to do so, as individuals, in respect to their own consciousnesses. J. The question of what does it exactly mean that the structure of consciousness could turn out to be a structure of a neural activity pattern is obviously a tricky one. What Mary didn’t know. Unfortunately the Russell/Eddington approach did not fit with the positivist zeitgeist of the latter half of the 20th century and was swiftly forgotten about. J. Philos. Third, the existence and nature of consciousness can be explained in terms of natural sciences. Also, almost everyone would agree that the composed sound is somehow phenomenally richer than any of its individual overtones and that this richness can be perceived as well before as after one learns to hear the overtones in the composed sound. Should such scientific account be successful, then the philosophical arguments against (as well as for) its possibility would lose most of their appeal. The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why any physical state is conscious rather than nonconscious. 66, 753–767. Keywords: philosophy of mind, qualia, consciousness, the hard problem, structuralism INTRODUCTION:THEHARDPROBLEMASATENSION BETWEENTHREETHESES One possible way to present the hard problem of consciousness is to consider three seemingly plausible theses that are in an inter-esting tension. Pestana, M. (2005). 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