Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

How can consciousness be a material thing?

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Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness.

In analytical philosopher Galen Strawson’s opinion, our childhood memories of pancakes on Saturday, for example, are—and must be— “wholly physical.” Taking other philosophers to task, he says,

The situation grows stranger when one reflects that almost all their materialist forebears, stretching back over 2,000 years to Leucippus and Democritus, completely reject the view that experience can’t be physical, and hold instead (as all serious materialists must) that experience is wholly physical. Russell made the key observation in 1927: “We do not know enough of the intrinsic character of events outside us to say whether it does or does not differ from that of ‘mental’ events”—whose nature we do know. He never wavered from this point. In 1948, he noted that physics simply can’t tell us “whether the physical world is, or is not, different in intrinsic character from the world of mind.” In 1956, he remarked that “we know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events except when these are mental events that we directly experience.” But the Deniers weren’t listening, and they still aren’t. (March 13, 2018) More.

See also: Consciousness Studies Is a “Bizarre” Field of Science

Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug

One Reply to “How can consciousness be a material thing?

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Does not matter, itself, become increasingly immaterial at the quantum level ? Nay, paradoxical, ergo repugnant to reason ? Not counter-intuitive, but counter-rational ? And since this latter also seems to apply to astrophysics, is this not the reason why the suspicion that our understanding of physics is fast approaching its limits has been gaining traction ?

    Can any materialist – any physicist – deny that light or the agency behind it must be omniscient in order to be able to keep track of the locations and movements of all objects OBSERVED to be travelling at a constant speed, so as to adjust its own speed, while travelling in the same direction, to what is recognised as its constant value as it hits the rear of it – allowing for nugatory vagaries. (I’m thinking of the two-vehicle illustration in encyclopaedias).

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