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What is the actual mechanism of consciousness?

There is so much speculation and so little result.


  1. If anybody actually knew the answer to this one, they’d be busy publishing a scientific paper and getting ready to receive their Nobel Prize for Medicine, not posting on Yahoo Answers.
    Sorry – nobody’s figured this one out yet.

  2. Read “Consciousness Explained”, by Daniel Dennett. It is a classic.
    And there are MANY other books on this topic.
    It is a bit unfair to say that “there is so much speculation and so little result.” There are two reasons this is a very, very difficult problem.
    The first is that it is very difficult to find a mechanism for consciousness if we can’t even define *what consciousness is*. We are the only consciousness we know, and can study. We can’t even be sure that consciousness isn’t just some illusion that an intelligent brain manufactures about itself.
    So if you could tell me what consciousness *IS*, describing its *mechanism* would be easy.
    The second problem is testing. How would you test a theory of consciousness? How do we ‘reproduce’ consciousness in another being. Especially if we consider millions of years of evolution to be the process that produced consciousness in our case, how do we replicate millions of years of evolution in a laboratory? And even if we were to achieve something that *behaves* like consciousness (known as the Turing test), how do we really know it is conscious, and not just a really good mimic?
    These are difficult problems. That is precisely what makes them interesting.

  3. G
    Dr Engelman of the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla has a book out that takes consciousness at face value and as an evolutionary development. He combines lofty scientific accomplishment with intellectual openess in his positing of brain-based epistemology and consciousness. The race is still on.


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