1 min readRecontextualizing the “hard problem” of consciousness

Which science do you believe in: the one that says we have discovered all that we can know about physical reality, or the other that says we can never really understand the deep nature of reality? Is there a middle ground?

This 2015 article by philosophy professor Galen Strawson offers us a new understanding of the “hard problem” of consciousness and a re-contextualization of the science vs. spirituality debate vis-a-vis the issue of consciousness. He asserts that the tension in explaining consciousness is between the “dualists”, those who believe that consciousness exists but it is made of unknowable, non-physical stuff, and the “eliminativists”, those who believe that everything is physical. Strawson thinks that both sides are wrong.

Strawson believes that there is fundamental stuff that “breathes fire” to all of physical reality. This “stuff” is currently unknown to us, but it can be revealed to us through our physics. He also stresses an important point: what we know of the intrinsic nature of the physical world is derived only through our conscious experience of them. Despite what our modern science tells us, Strawson asserts, we know nothing avout the physical nature of reality. 

Implications for AI

Our science may have advanced exponentially, but it has only revealed to us a small fraction of reality. And yet, from this revelation, the scientific community has already concluded that it has already discovered everything it can discover about physical reality.

The extreme materialism we are experiencing today is no more than the manifestation of egoistic, and self-centered human values. It does not reflect the real spirit of science. Science is changing, and there is a huge body of evidence proving that there is something fundamental about physical reality that we haven’t yet discovered. Refusal to accept the evidences of the rise of a post-materialist science is nothing more that a self-serving ideology. 

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