Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Consciousness is a Ghostly Thing In a Naturalistic World

Plants seem to have some kind of intelligence but it might be an exaggeration to say that they are conscious.

Joel Kontinen

Consciousness Is an immaterial phenomenon. For those who embrace a naturalistic /materialistic worldview it seems to be an enigma and they have tried to fill the Internet with explanations of how we can be conscious of anything.

In their evolution-based story, life has to appear from non-life (although we know that it can’t), so consciousness must also be a hard nut to crack.

Recently, Michael Graziano, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times:

How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct.”

However, we are much more than our brains. But Professor Graziano goes on to say:

When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong. The machinery is computing an elaborate story about a magical-seeming property. And there is no way for the brain to determine through introspection that the story is wrong, because introspection always accesses the same incorrect information.”

It appears that worldview determines what he thinks about consciousness. It is a “ghostly thing” and our brain is a machine.

Things are a bit more complicated in the real world that is not populated by ghosts. Our brain is a lot more than a cognitive machine: it is a marvel and it is an integral part of us.

We are the ones who are aware.


Graziano, Michael S. A. 2014. Are We Really Conscious? The New York Times (10 October).