In this article for Mind Matters, Eric Holloway says that there is no coherent material theory that explain consciousness. Even panpsychism, which states that all of matter is conscious, and emergence, which states that consciousness is an emergent property of complex matter are insufficient at explaining this phenomena. The only theory that makes sense, in Holloway’s point of view, is that consciousness transcends the material universe.
Implications for AI
Thanks to the results of decades of consciousness studies, many materialist scientists are already considering other possible causes of consciousness [see A New Conceptual Model Of Mind, Reality, And Psi and There Are Minds Everywhere, Except In AI]. This change in mindset is important as it marks the shift in mainstream science. But it is not enough.
There is now a clear evidence that points to a new direction – a direction which truly goes beyond all that we currently know, and what most scientists are prepared to accept. But if the search for truth is still at the heart of science, then the choice is simple – science is changing towards an understanding of the universe that is beyond the physical.
By accepting this as a fact, the hope is that we will be able to gain new capacities that will help us navigate an expanded universe of the unseen and the previously unbelievable [here is a story of a scientist who began to accept the reality of the post-materialist sciences: From Physics To Consciousness].
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