The Mind-Body Problem

“The scientific and philosophical consensus is that there is no nonphysical soul or ego, or at least no evidence for that.” — Philosopher David Chalmers

From Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind (NYT)

“Michael Graziano, a neuroscientist at Princeton University, suggested to the audience that consciousness is a kind of con game the brain plays with itself. The brain is a computer that evolved to simulate the outside world. Among its internal models is a simulation of itself — a crude approximation of its own neurological processes. The result is an illusion. Instead of neurons and synapses, we sense a ghostly presence — a self — inside the head. But it’s all just data processing. “The machine mistakenly thinks it has magic inside it,” Dr. Graziano said. And it calls the magic consciousness.”

I think this is what is commonly referred to as “the hard problem.” How minds are generated by brains.

“Some philosophers and scientists have been driven back to the centuries-old doctrine of panpsychism — the idea that consciousness is universal, existing as some kind of mind stuff inside molecules and atoms. Consciousness doesn’t have to emerge. It’s built into matter, perhaps as some kind of quantum mechanical effect.”

I like the idea of universal consciousness. Until there’s solid, scientific consensus on how the brain creates consciousness… this is as good an explanation as any.