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Why Does the Brain-Mind (Consciousness) Problem Seem So Hard?

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Why is there a 'hard problem' of consciousness? Why do we seem unable to grasp intuitively that physical brain processes can be identical to experiences? Here I comment on the 'meta-problem' (Chalmers, 2018), based on previous ideas (Storm, 2014; 2018). In short: humans may be 'inborn dualists' ('neuroscepticism'), because evolution gave us two (types of) brain systems (or functional modes): one (Sp) for understanding relatively simple physical phenomena, and another (Sm) specialized for mental phenomena. Because Sp cannot deal with the immense complexity of the brain processes underlying consciousness, it represents them as fundamentally different from nonmental physical phenomena (dualist intuition), using 'simulations' to produce 'Sm-type understanding'/predictions that seems radically different from 'Sp-type understanding'. (By analogy, different sensory modalities, handled by distinct brain systems, evoke qualitatively different experiences.) Brain systems for Sp representations of our brain processes never evolved, because they would be useless. When lacking a single 'template' matching different aspects of reality (objective vs. subjective = simulated), complementary 'models' are needed ('neuro-complementarity'), like the waveĆ¢–“particle duality in quantum mechanics. Thus, it seems plausible that Sp and Sm evolved because they were needed to cope with different challenges, and that 'problem intuitions' are side effects of these useful but different brain systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brain Signalling Group, Physiology Section, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Oslo, PB 1104 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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