Monday, November 07, 2011

Science of Consciousness

As I've noted over the years on this blog, I find it amusing that some scientists claim that we pretty much know everything there is to know, when the science of consciousness is still in its infancy.  From Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience:
"The questions [we ask] have become a little bit more sophisticated and we’ve become more sophisticated in how we ask the question," she adds - but we're still far from being able to explain how the regions of the brain interact to produce thought, dreams, and self-awareness. “In terms of understanding, the awareness that comes from binding remote activities of the brain together, still remains what philosophers call, ‘The hard problem.'"
I have long maintained that it may turn out that it is fundamentally impossible to describe consciousness quantitatively.  The mind may be above and beyond scientific observation.  In other words, the mind cannot know itself entirely.

For further reading on this topic, I highly recommend the works of Roger Penrose.  I also absolutely do not recommend reading anything by Stephen W. Hawking that even remotely touches on this topic as it is a pedantic waste of time.  Positivist reductionism is a dead end.  (I do respect his other work, especially A Brief History of Time, which is an excellent book for non-scientists.)

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