They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around:
It’s easy to mock the idea. But consider what neuroscientists studying consciousness are up against:
“Traditionally, scientists have been stalwart materialists. But doing so has caused them to slam up against the limitations of materialism. Consider the chasm between relativity and quantum mechanics, or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and you quickly start to recognize these incongruities. – Philip Perry, “The Universe May Be Conscious, Say Prominent Scientists” at Bigthink, June 25, 2017″
Put another way, in a universe governed by uncertainty principles rather than hard facts, what is the “material” in materialism? There is no good materialist theory of consciousness; far from it, an article in Chronicles of Higher Education last year labeled the current research a “bizarre” field of science.
Consciousness depends on the brain, yes. But one may as well say that a student’s essay depends on her laptop. The laptop enables an essay that it does not create. Her ideas start elsewhere but where, exactly, do they start? What space do they inhabit?
Some prominent physicists and neuroscientists who cannot accept the idea of a separate immaterial reality (dualism) turn to the simplest alternative, that the whole universe participates in consciousness (panpsychism).“Why some scientists believe the universe is conscious” at Mind Matters News
See also: Further reading on panpsychism:
No materialist theory of consciousness is plausible. All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention. (Eric Holloway)
Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug Materialists have a solution to the problem of consciousness, and it may startle you
How can consciousness be a material thing? Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness.
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