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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Consciousness

Does an ant carrying a piece of leaf across the forest floor ‘know’ it’s doing so? Is it conscious? If science could construct a machine as complex as the human brain, would it ‘know’ it existed? Will it oneday be possible to explain consciousness via the laws of physics?

As yet there are no answers to any of these questions, and consciousness stubbornly resists attempts even to define it unambiguously.

Quote; from philosopher Professor Jerry Fodor (late) State of New Jersey Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Rutgers University.

“Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious.” Source

Quote; from Professor Susan Blackmore, University of Plymouth, UK.

“I believe (although I’ve never seen it for myself) that inside my skull is a brain containing billions of neurons connected to each other in trillions of ways, with signals zooming about, setting off other signals, and generally creating massively complicated loops, coalitions, sustained patterns, and multiple parallel organised streams of information that combined together control the behaviour of this – my body. And that’s it. So how come I feel as though there is a conscious “me” as well? The oh-so-tempting idea that I am something else – a soul, a spirit, a mystical entity – is rubbish, although I once believed in it. This question nags at me so much that I have devoted most of my life to it – through research, writing, and thirty years of daily meditation. But I still don’t understand. And the more I look, the less substantial my own self seems to be. What is consciousness? And who is conscious? I really don’t know.” Source

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