The Mystery of Consciousness Is Deeper Than We Thought | Technology & Science

Why the Mystery of Consciousness Is Deeper Than We Thought.

Despite great progress, we lack even the beginning of an explanation of how the brain produces our inner world of colors, sounds, smells and tastes. A thought experiment with “pain-pleasure” zombies illustrates that the mystery is deeper than we thought.

In the 1990s the Australian philosopher David Chalmers famously framed the challenge of distinguishing between the “easy” problems and the “hard” problem of consciousness. Easy problems focus on explaining behavior, such as the ability to discriminate, categorize and react to surprises. Still incredibly challenging, they’re “easy” in the sense that they fit into standard scientific explanation: we postulate a mechanism to explain how the system—the brain—does what it does.

The hard problem comes after we’ve explained all of these functions of the brain, where we are still left with a puzzle: Why is the carrying out of these functions…


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