Is Conscious Awareness Inexplicable? The 'Hard Problem of Consciousness' Further Pinpointed
13 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 29, 2015
Some perennial issues regarding conscious awareness – primarily, what it is and what its functions might be – are revisited. It is suggested that there might be a way to resolve at least a bit of the permanent tension between the common conviction that it is extremely puzzling, mysterious in a way, and the prevalent faith that it nonetheless must be somehow accountable by neuroscience, even further than David Chalmers did in delimiting the “easy problems of consciousness” to cognitive tasks underlying abilities or performance: The concept of conscious awareness per se is not as theoretically elusive as it is often portrayed, since it has a simple sense that may be reasonably accommodated by information processing models of the mind – roughly, open internal access of all processes to the output of a process considered at any given moment most relevant. What still is hardly explicable by customary tools of cognitive science is sentience – whatever enables us to have phenomenal experience, a prominent content of conscious awareness (yet qualitatively different from the other prominent content, namely cognition). It is argued that the inexplicability of sentience seems to be misattributed to the carrier of the contents of awareness. Awareness per se may just be colored as inexplicable by one of its content types – phenomenal experience.
Keywords: Awareness, Consciousness, Experience
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation