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. doi: 10.1080/17588921003731586. One of the main reasons for such systematic co-occurrences is, according to the hypothesis, the fact that all the essential nodes responsible for explicit representations are directly connected to the planning modules of the brain (the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, in particular), where their projections can easily affect the behavior of the subject (Koch, 2004, p. 245). Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism. 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). 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. So, the two concepts of knowledge, the objective and the subjective, are indeed different, and even a perfect objective epistemic access to the structure of a certain consciousness would not guarantee us the subjective knowledge about that consciousness. 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. 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 hard problem of consciousness has been often claimed to be unsolvable by the methods of traditional empirical sciences. 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 hard problem is why is it that all that processing should be accompanied by this movie at all. Serious Science 70,344 views. However, only a relatively small minority of the proponents of scientific object structuralism believe that structure and relations are actually all there is. The most common ways to introduce the hard problem are intuitively appealing but rather obscure in meaning. Russell, B. Strawson, G. (2006). Consciousness and neuroscience. The Hard Problem of Consciousness, as defined by Chalmers, holds such sway in the study of consciousness that it is often taken as synonym for “the problem of consciousness”, at least for that really interesting kind of consciousness: phenomenal consciousness. Only that some of it – ie the stuff in brains – involves consciousness. (It has been argued that from the above described conceivability would follow many important metaphysical facts, including the non-physical nature of consciousness. And that question could be, hopefully, eventually answered by the combined efforts of neurobiology, evolutionary neuroscience, cognitive science and possibly some other empirical disciplines. Sci. Mod. Chalmers D.J, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Oxford University Press 1996) At least 43 reviews of the book! Namely, the hypothesis predicts that whichever apparently monadic and non-structural quale we choose to pick, with the help of our future device, it would reveal its structural (even though not fully structural) nature. Lockwood, M. (1989). Natl Acad. In other words, it helps us understand why different qualia are not simply characterized by apparently ineffable “somethingness,” but have each a very specific apparently ineffable “suchness.” For example, should we train our ear to distinguish between the overtone structures of the sounds of guitar and trumpet, we would, supposedly, understand intuitively (or “perceive directly”) what are the structural natures of the qualities like “guitarish” and “trumpetish” and why each of them has its specific qualitative “suchness.”. However, it is unclear that any such model could achieve that goal. Eddington, A. S. (1928). (1999). In case of consciousness we are simply dealing with a cognitive system that is not capable of examining its own inner structure at the level where the qualitative properties of qualia are analyzable in structural terms. That framework allows us to see qualia as something compositional with internal structures that fully determine their qualitative nature. 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. A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. It seems that an idea of a human consciousness that has a structure of a bat’s consciousness is simply inconsistent because the identity of human consciousness depends of its having a structure of human consciousness (at least if we accept the fully structural account of consciousness defended in this paper). About a quarter discuss illusionism about consciousness and especially debunking arguments that move from a solution to the meta-problem to illusionism. According to them, there is an explicit neural representation for every aspect of our conscious experience. Keywords: philosophy of mind, qualia, consciousness, the hard problem, structuralism, Citation: Loorits K (2014) Structural qualia: a solution to the hard problem of consciousness. 66, 753–767. It answers the question of how phenomenal consciousness could possible “rise” from neural activity: if the hypothesis is correct, then the phenomenal consciousness simply is a certain complex pattern of neural activity: a pattern of patterns of patterns etc. On the other hand, if both the first and the second theses are true, it follows directly that consciousness cannot be an object of physics or other natural (or behavioral) sciences and hence its existence cannot be also explained by these sciences. 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? Rev. It seems rather obvious that if qualia can be analyzed fully in structural terms (as networks of unconscious associations) and if the structures of qualia are implemented by some patterns of neural activity, then any creature that is physically identical to a conscious human being would also have the exact same qualia as she does. 22, 127–48. (1998), Lamme (2010), O’Brien and Opie (1999) and many others, that help us tracking and recognizing different structural features of consciousness in some neural activity patterns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A solution to the hard problem of consciousness that I find plausible is a solution that can appear to many to be utterly absurd. 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. An example of that kind of radical structuralist metaphysics is a theory of Ladyman and Ross (2007). Am. (2006). Since the hypothesis presented above contains an idea according to which people are ignorant of the fundamental (structural) nature of their qualia, it has some superficial resemblance to the so called epistemic view or ignorance hypothesis, put forward by Stoljar (2006). There are several theories besides the one of Crick and Koch, for example Varela (1999), Baars (1988), Dehaene et al. But in the future the hypothesis could be significantly strengthened by the evidence from phenomenal experience. It could be that the hard problem of consciousness is due to a wrong turn that scientists and philosophers took in the middle of the 20th century – a wrong turn we may be about to correct.Philip Goff (@philip_goff)Associate professor of philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, Bertrand Russell proposed a way forward on consciousness as long ago as 1927. And last but not least, the above structural account of consciousness is psychologically convincing and intuitively illuminating: it is much easier to accept (for me, for Crick and Koch and, hopefully, for many others) that the constitutive components of qualia are unconscious associations, than, say, some fundamental “protophenomenal” elements of whose nature we are completely ignorant. 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. Jackson, F. (1986). U.S.A. 95, 14529–14534. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Englewood: Roberts and Co. Ladyman, J., Ross, D., (with Spurrett, D., and Collier, J.) Neurosci. Of course, it should be recognized that the view I have proposed here is far from forced upon us by the evidence. Should such scientific account be successful, then the philosophical arguments against (as well as for) its possibility would lose most of their appeal. 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. 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). Cereb. The Solution to The Hard Problem of Consciousness. Hi, my name is Saul Celere. J. Philos. It has been often argued that it is ideally positively conceivable that a creature physically identical to some conscious human being (for example to you or to me) could nevertheless lack qualia, in other words, that it could be some sort of unconscious zombie. 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. of some simple neural events. Noûs 28, 21–38. Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalised. 53–57) criticize strongly the idea of there being different ontological levels in nature because, according to them, there are plenty of natural phenomena which do not fit nicely to the framework of hierarchically organized levels. Philos. 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. Philos. And this is all that should matter at the end of the day. Stud. U.S.A. 100, 5520–5524. 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