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Physicalist philosopher: Consciousness Is Not a Problem. Dualism Is!


He says that consciousness is just “brain processes that feel like something”:

In his book, Thinking About Consciousness (2002), which elaborates a physicalist view, Papineau argues that consciousness “seems mysterious not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way.” In short, it’s all in our heads. But wait, say others, the hard problem is not so easily dismissed.

News, “Philosopher: Consciousness Is Not a Problem. Dualism Is! ” at Mind Matters News

The comment from Reddit is devastating.

Further reading:

Yes, consciousness is real but that’s not the half of it. Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci ends up skating deftly around the main problems.

Consciousness is two hard problems, not one. Psychology prof Gregg Henriques argues, consciousness “plays by a different set of rules than the language game of science.”


Why is science growing comfortable with panpsychism (“everything is conscious” )? At one time, the idea that “everything is conscious” was the stuff of jokes. Not any more, it seems. A recent article at New Scientist treats panpsychism as a serious idea in science. That’s thanks to the growing popularity of neuroscientist Giulio Tonioni’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which offers the opportunity for mathematical modeling, along with the implication that inanimate matter and/or the universe may be conscious. If IIT continues to gain a sympathetic hearing, panpsychism could become, over time, a part of normal science.

Studying consciousness is hard because the object of study is itself the only tool available with which to study the object. It's like trying to microscopically study a microscope using the self-same microscope. When you get to, like, the lenses it's going to be hard, to say the least. Anyway, it''s not surprising that reductionists want to dismiss as uninteresting and unimportant anything that defies reductionist analysis. Even when it involves the somewhat odd existence of the very ingredient that make reality real in the first place. Of course, it is possible that the cosmos would still exist even if there were no one around to perceive it. But who'd know? jstanley01
Sev, c.f. "necessary and sufficient". Also, partial destruction of the brain does not result in partial loss of conciousness, so by your criteria... drc466
Ah just as reasonable as the reddit user that shot him down. AaronS1978
Papineau sounds like an eminently sensible philosopher to me. No, we don't have a detailed account of how our conscious experience arises from the activity of the physical brain but we have an immense amount of observational data indicating that the destruction of the physical brain results in the irreversible loss of the consciousness associated with that brain. Seversky

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