A reader might come away from this discussion with the following observations:
● We all know that we are conscious; it is the one thing of which we are most sure, as analytical philosopher Galen Strawson has pointed out.
● It’s not strictly true that “Every bit of evidence we have is that the mysteries of the universe have been gradually solved by science” (Damasio). While science is making headway with many mysteries, others (origin of life, for example, or the origin of the Cambrian Explosion) remain opaque.
● While Damasio and Seth seem convinced that materialist “science” will explain consciousness, it’s not clear that they are anywhere close — though they have certainly learned some interesting things about the workings of the brain. That attitude is often called promissory materialism: “Just you wait and materialism will solve this problem.”
As the problem remains unsolved, we are entitled to conclude, provisionally, that consciousness is not a material phenomenon and that that is why materialism-based methods don’t work.
But don’t expect Damasio, Seth, or their successors to take that lying down. Too much is at stake philosophically.News, “Neuroscientists: The Hard Problem of consciousness isn’t so hard!” at Mind Matters News
Takehome: If consciousness remains unexplained by materialist theories, we are entitled to conclude, at least provisionally, that it is not a material phenomenon.
You may also wish to read: Consciousness is destroying physicalism Materialism (physical stuff is all there is) is taking a well-deserved beating of late. There is no basis in mere physics for what every human being absolutely knows: Our own consciousness.