The problem with theories of consciousness

Science wants to explain what it can't even explain.

I left this as a comment on one of those articles hyping up a New Theory of Consciousness!

Thought you might enjoy it:

I find it hard to take seriously all of these many purported theories of consciousness that attempt to solve the "mind-body problem" by plugging in different values for "body" and calling it a day.

The point of calling it a hard problem is not that it takes more gumption in digging up the right sort of physical or causal explanation. The point is that physical and causal explanations of any sort don't have any obvious path to  resolving the problem. Even calling consciousness a problem presupposes that enough cognitive horsepower can resolve it, which may be supposing far too much.

"Resonance" tells us no more about subjectivity than measurements of length, width, mass, or any other physical quantity.

The panpsychism currently so fashionable among materialists might make a certain kind of sense if one is concerned to explain mere sensation – how is it that qualities of experience such as color or taste or pain can exist in a universe that seems to consist of nothing more than particles and laws governing their behaviors?

But explaining those subjective qualities isn't the only difficulty facing consciousness. How is it that certain mental states can be about non-mental things? How is it that certain mental states can be judged correct, or fail to be correct? Intentionality and rationality (respectively) are two properties of conscious minds that a theory of brute sensation ignores or outright fails to explain.

I can appreciate the effort. But these "New theory of consciousness!" headlines always disappoint. I suspect they will continue to disappoint until the materialists realize that they're hunting on the wrong path.


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