From Michael Graziano at Atlantic:
This is called the attention schema theory, a theory that my lab has been developing and testing experimentally for the past five years. It’s a theory of why we insist with such certainty that we have subjective experience. Attention is fundamental. It’s present in almost all animals. To help control it, the brain evolved an attention schema. Because of the quirky information contained in the attention schema, the brain-machine claims to have a conscious experience of things. Consciousness is phantom attention. Without resorting to magic, mysticism, hard problems, or spooky soul energy, the theory explains the behavior of us humans who claim—who swear up and down and get testy when challenged—that we have a ghost in the machine.
Lord Nelson may have been right when he said that a phantom arm is made of the same stuff as the soul. It’s all information in the brain.More.
And the origin of the information is what, exactly?
Why do so many theories of consciousness need to start by assuming that it is an illusion? Most of us don’t get nasty about such theories; we just wonder why they consume so much time and attention and funding.
Surely it is a sign of weakness in a science fied when a complex phenomenon is supposed to be “explained” by a simple quirk. Apart from the need to generate BS to keep the pot boiling, sometimes it is just plain better not to have an answer, so as to conserve time, energy, resources, and attention for better prospects
See also: (Theory, join the club… )
Consciousness like a self-driving car with no will or intent?
Consciousness: No hard problem! (also Graziano)
How did consciousness become a problem
Consciousness is not a neural phenomenon
Leading theory of consciousness under fire
Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away
Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?
See also: What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness
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