Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?

15 June, 2018

We are glad to announce that the Guardian has published an article on consciousness “Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?” It is mostly devoted to David Chalmers and the Hard problem of consciousness but also it is mentioned our conference in Greenland.

“Last June, several of the most prominent combatants in the consciousness debates – including Chalmers, Churchland and Dennett – boarded a tall-masted yacht for a trip among the ice floes of Greenland. This conference-at-sea was funded by a Russian internet entrepreneur, Dmitry Volkov, the founder of the Moscow Centre for Consciousness Studies. About 30 academics and graduate students, plus crew, spent a week gliding through dark waters, past looming snow-topped mountains and glaciers, in a bracing chill conducive to focused thought, giving the problem of consciousness another shot. In the mornings, they visited islands to go hiking, or examine the ruins of ancient stone huts; in the afternoons, they held conference sessions on the boat. For Chalmers, the setting only sharpened the urgency of the mystery: how could you feel the Arctic wind on your face, take in the visual sweep of vivid greys and whites and greens, and still claim conscious experience was unreal, or that it was simply the result of ordinary physical stuff, behaving ordinarily?

The question was rhetorical. Dennett and Churchland were not converted; indeed, Chalmers has no particular confidence that a consensus will emerge in the next century. “Maybe there’ll be some amazing new development that leaves us all, now, looking like pre-Darwinians arguing about biology,” he said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if in 100 years, neuroscience is incredibly sophisticated, if we have a complete map of the brain – and yet some people are still saying, ‘Yes, but how does any of that give you consciousness?’ while others are saying ‘No, no, no – that just is the consciousness!’” The Greenland cruise concluded in collegial spirits, and mutual incomprehension”.

Read the article here: Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?

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