Michael Egnor writes:
Philosopher David Chalmers famously divided the problem of understanding how consciousness is related to the brain by distinguishing between the easy and hard problems of consciousness.
The easy problem of consciousness is typically faced by working neuroscientists — i.e., what parts of the brain are metabolically active when we’re awake? What kinds of neurons are involved in memory? These problems are “easy” only in the sense that they are tractable. The neuroscience necessary to answer them is challenging but, with enough skill and perseverance, it can be done.
The hard problem of consciousness is another matter entirely. It is this: How can first-person subjective experience arise from brain matter? How do we get an “I” from an “it”? Compared with the easy problem, the hard problem is, from the perspective of materialist neuroscience, intractable.
Evading the Hard Problem
Many neuroscientists evade the hard problem by denying its relevance to neuroscience.
Let’s just stop here and consider the scientific approach of “solving” a hard problem by denying its relevance. This wouldn’t even fly with more objective problems in science, such as, “How does a nascent solar system shed its excess angular momentum as it continues to form?” But to take the most fundamental aspect of our existence as humans – our consciousness – and to dismiss it as an irrelevant phenomenon is to put on blinders that perpetuate ignorance, in the guise of science.
See complete article at Evolution News.