Home Discussion Forum What is still left of the "hard problem of consciousness"?

What is still left of the "hard problem of consciousness"?

I read “Conversations On Consciousness” and quite a few papers and articles on the “hard problem” and heard about the work of Dehaene/Naccache, who (as I understood) found the NCC. After all, what explanatory gap(s) are yet to be filled? Apart from other mysteries about the brain (memory etc.) it seems to me that science found out already what consciousness is (for) and how it “arises”.
Or is my impression really true that all the scientists are simply “fighting” over “I have the better theory!” while nobody really has a clue how to unite all accumulated knowledge instead of just presenting it like Blackmore bravely did in “Consciousness: An Introduction”?
Yes, Dennett is amazing, but that book is 16 years old. I did not ask what is known already or who knows what, I asked what is NOT known yet, some ten years after Chalmers coined the term “hard problem”.
I should have mentioned I don’t like Chalmers at all. I think his dualistic zombie-theory is dumb at best. So like most views, his book might be interesting, but I bet his general dualistic view will shine through.
I asked the question because I lost track a little after reading some bits and pieces here and there, and X is claiming that and Y is claiming something else, then Z’s theory is supposed to complement X and Y…
Anyway, I think you need consciousness to explain qualia, but you don’t need qualia to explain consciousness – do you?


  1. I highly recommend Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. He thoroughly describes the problems from scientific and philosophical viewpoints. He was the creator of heterophenomenology and the multiple drafts theory. Its a truly amazing book.

  2. The hard problems of consciousness are un-scientific questions by nature, though not all see this as pejorative. Some philosophers, notable David Chalmers see the hard problems of consciousness like “qualia”, and “what it’s like to see red”, to be inexplicable in the scientific model, and turn to dualism. On the other side of the coin there are philosophers like Dan Dennett who don’t see a problem with the hard problems like qualia. To eliminative materialists, qualia is like a myth, that will be done away with or revised in time. But it should be realized that the question is not clear cut, and both sides of the arguments openly admit that they could imagine the other side to be correct, so dogma is best avoided by everyone.
    But whoever is right, it should be realized that science doesn’t explain the hard problems, either because it transcends science, or because they are non-existent.
    If you want to learn more about Chalmers and the hard problems, I recommend his book, “The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.” Famous materialist philosopher, David Lewis, said about the book:
    “The Conscious Mind is exceptionally ambitious and exceptionally successful–the best book in philosophy of mind for many years. It flies in the face of fashion, making a formidable case against materialistic orthodoxy. Legions of materialists are no doubt busy writing their rejoinders; but there will be few points left for them to make that Chalmers hasn’t made already. We of the materialist opposition cannot go on about how he has overlooked this and misunderstood that–because he hasn’t. All we can do is to disagree about which way the balance of considerations tilts.”–David Lewis, Princeton University

  3. When the time comes you will know the answer. Chicken or the egg is untouchable on planet earth. The ride (life) is unquestionable; bring all your wits and you must not blink. Words to live by in the past. Efforts only come in the future. Here and now is unobtainable.
    Someone else has seen this.
    Smile, the world is flat and countless Gods agree with you. Or, of course, disagree.


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