Friday, November 8, 2013

Consciousness as Dualism

While we are looking at things from this elevated philosophical perspective, it is worth noting that there seems to be rather a limited range of basic options for the nature of consciousness. You might, for example, believe that it is some sort of magical field, a soul, that comes as an addendum to the body, like a satnav machine in a car. This is the traditional ‘ghost in the machine’ of Cartesian dualism. It is, I would guess, how most people have thought of consciousness for centuries, and how many still do. In scientific circles, however, dualism has become immensely unpopular. The problem is that no one has ever seen this field. How is it generated? More importantly, how does it interact with the ‘thinking meat’ of the brain? We see no energy transfer. We can detect no soul. Michael Hanlon

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