The Physical Condition for Consciousness: A comment on R. Shaw and J. Kinsella-Shaw
Abstract:If the universe is a machine, consciousness is not possible. If the universe is more than a machine, then physics is incomplete. Since we are both part of the universe and conscious, physics must be incomplete and the understanding required to construct conscious mechanisms must be sought through the advancement of physics not the continued application of inadequate concepts. In this paper I will show that an impediment to this advancement is the confusion arising through the use of terms such as 'physical reality' to refer to an absolute a priori Kantian 'Ding an Sich' when they should both be recognized as referring to data structures holding the knowledge upon which we act and nothing more. Once this confusion has been clarified, I will go on to suggest that the cycle of activity updating physical reality becomes a candidate for a conscious process. I will show how implementing algorithms in modern computers can mimic this process but if actual consciousness is to be achieved the update activity must correspond to a cycle in time. Such cycles have been identified with Whitehead's 'actual occasions' and thus I will argue that fundamental events should replace fundamental particles as the building blocks of the universe if consciousness is to be explained.
Document Type: Research Article
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Publication date: 2007-01-01