Neuroscientist Christopher Tyler would like to understand how the brain generates consciousness. To that end, he has identified ten different characteristics and proposed ways in which each could be scientifically studied:
While the careful breakdown of consciousness into ten different qualities (privacy, unity, interrogacy, extinguishability, iterativity, operationality, multifacetedness, complex interconnectivity, autosuppressivity, and self-referentiality) is informative, the paper reads like an ambitious but hopeless project that offers some genuinely interesting moments.
In particular, Tyler points out that “interrogacy,” the ability to formulate questions, “seems unique to a conscious mind.” Yet, he notes, it has not so far been investigated …
One suspects that interrogativity has not been investigated precisely because minds (Tyler insists on calling them “brains”) question things and galaxies don’t. That reveals—by its very nature—the hopelessness of the monist project. There is no circumstance under which a galaxy or a kidney can be got to question anything. A brain might not do so either, apart from the mind it instantiates.News, “Can we develop tests of the brain for consciousness?” at Mind Matters News
He proposes a test for interrogacy, as for the other qualities.
Further reading on consciousness:
If your brain were cut in half, would you still be one person. Yes, with minor disabilities. Roger Sperry’s split-brain research convinced him that the mind and free will are real.
Neuroscientist Michael Graziano should meet the p-zombie (Michael Egnor) To understand consciousness, we need to establish what it is not before we create any more new theories. (Michael Egnor)