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At Nautilus: A bioelectric theory of consciousness

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From developmental biologist Michael Levin and philosopher
and Daniel Dennett, introduced by evolutionary biologist and lawyer Tam Hunt: The bioelectric field as the locus of consciousness:

Bioelectric currents differ from electric currents that power machines because they consist of ions (molecules that carry an electric charge) rather than electrons. Encyclopedia.com. But it is still electricity. So what’s the link with consciousness? …

“Something like thinking, they argue, isn’t just something we do in our heads that requires brains. It’s a process even individual cells themselves, and not requiring any kind of brain, also take part in. To the biologists who see this as a cavalier form of anthropomorphization, Levin and Dennet say, “Chill out.” It’s useful to anthropomorphize many different kinds of life, to see in their parts and processes a variety of teleological experience. “Ever since the cybernetics advances of the 1940s and ’50s, engineers have had a robust, practical science of mechanisms with purpose and goal-directedness—without mysticism,” they write. “We suggest that biologists catch up.” – Tam Hunt, “The Link Between Bioelectricity and Consciousness” at Nautilus (March 10, 2021) “

News, “A new theory links consciousness to bioelectricity” at Mind Matters News

So the hypothesis that consciousness is a function of bioelectric fields includes the notion that our individual cells are conscious. Levin and Dennett are willing to think of parts of the body as agents too. But from what we can tell, whole persons are not agents in Dennett’s view.

It was all simpler when metaphysical naturalists/materialists or whatever were just plain materialists and weren’t dabbling in this kind of thing.


You may also wish to read:

Why consciousness shows that materialism is false The mind refutes materialism in a rather straightforward way. (Michael Egnor)

Toward a serious scientific theory of consciousness Quantum physics arises from the fact that when we do not observe a particle, it can be in two different places at once, such that it interacts with itself. (Eric Holloway)

3 Replies to “At Nautilus: A bioelectric theory of consciousness

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This is emphatically not new. The original neurologists in the 1840s understood consciousness this way.

    Attributing part of the action to the cells is just logically necessary and automatic. The resonating waves run through the whole body, so each cell is a participant, along with the glia and fat and blood and lymph and gut bacteria, etc.

    The digital materialists were trying to isolate ONE exact brain module that was the sole seat of consciousness, but those pure reductionists have already lost the battle.

  2. 2
    doubter says:

    Just one more obviously failed attempt to rescue the materialistic view that consciousness is somehow composed of physical “stuff” – this time biocurrents and bioelectric fields. This still runs into the Hard Problem, and a boatload of paranormal evidence such as veridical NDEs.

  3. 3
    Concealed Citizen says:

    Once again, they don’t cross the bridge from “matter” to consciousness. At best, only correlations.

    “Science” can only deal with things that can be described and quantified with mathematics. If you try to describe the difference between the conscious experience of blue and red using any kind of language, you’ll get a hint as to why the bridge can never occur. Consciousness is primary.

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