The real problem of consciousness

The real problem of consciousness

See this article. A few excerpts:

“A new picture is taking shape in which conscious experience is seen as deeply grounded in how brains and bodies work together to maintain physiological integrity – to stay alive.”

“The brain is locked inside a bony skull. All it receives are ambiguous and noisy sensory signals that are only indirectly related to objects in the world. Perception must therefore be a process of inference, in which indeterminate sensory signals are combined with prior expectations or ‘beliefs’ about the way the world is, to form the brain’s optimal hypotheses of the causes of these sensory signals.”

“A number of experiments are now indicating that consciousness depends more on perceptual predictions, than on prediction errors. […] We’ve found that people consciously see what they expect, rather than what violates their expectations.”

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Paul Watson

Well, for me the “real problem” of consciousness is pinning down the selection pressures that built various sorts and qualities of consciousness across taxa, especially and including humans. That project will really help us elucidate the functional design of consciousness. But, that said. I dislike it when somebody from one discipline claims that they have hit upon the “real” or the “hard” or in some way the “genuine” problem of consciousness. Understanding consciousness is going to require strong interdisciplinary work. Any disciplines, possibly including ones that are not strictly scientific (e.g., contemplative / introspective traditions aimed at seeing into mind… Read more »

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