The easy problems ain't so easy

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Abstract:

David Chalmers distinguishes the hard problem of consciousness -- why should a physical system give rise to conscious experiences at all -- with what he calls the easy problems, the explanation of how cognitive systems, including human brains, perform various cognitive functions. He argues that the easy problems are easy because the performance of any function can be explained by specifying a mechanism that performs the function. This article argues that conscious experiences have a role in the performance by human beings of some cognitive functions, that can't be realised by mechanisms of the kind studied by the objective sciences; and that accordingly some of Chalmers’ easy problems will not be fully solved unless and until the hard problem is solved.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Supreme Court of New South Wales, Queens Square, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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