What is consciousness?

  • Consciousness is when there is something that it is like to be a creature, according to Anil Seth.
  • Thus, consciousness is tightly linked to Phenomenology.
  • Other definitions of consciousness have related to how the human brain functions. These are less interesting.
  • There are philosophical approaches to consciousness -
    • at one extreme 'physicalism' or 'materialism' which holds that the world is made of phyiscal stuff and the arrangement of that stuff in certain ways causes consciousness. I would link this to Object Oriented Ontology, which is a 'realist' philosophy. Ie: there is a reality that exists outside consciousness.
    • at the other end 'idealism' - often associated with Berkley, that consciousness or mind is the ultimate source of reality. Therefore the challenge is to figure out how matter emerges from mind.
    • Sitting in the middle are people like Decartes, 'Dualists', who believe consciousness and physical stuff are separate substances or modes of existance. This is unfashionable these days, but often it underlies many assumptions. A flavour of Dualism is Functionalism, which asserts that it's not what something is made of that makes it, but what it does. This leads us to the conclusion that consciousness could be simulated by Technology if all the correct links are made.

Last update: 2022-02-26 22:25