Wednesday, July 11, 2012

John Searle - Consciousness and Causality


 This is a talk by philosopher John Searle given at the Evolution and Function of Consciousness Summer School ("Turing Consciousness 2012") held at the University of Montreal as part of Alan Turing Year.




John Searle Consciousness and Causality 
 
Abstract: How do neurobiological processes in the brain cause consciousness? I think this is the most important question in the biological sciences today. Two related questions: Where exactly is consciousness realized in the brain and how does it function causally in our behavior? We know consciousness happens and we know the brain does it. How does it work? How do we approach this problem scientifically? The standard way is to go through three steps. First, try to find the neurobiological correlate of consciousness. Second, try to test if the correlations are in fact causal. Do the neurobiological states cause consciousness? Third, try to formulate a theory. Why do these processes cause consciousness at all, and why do these specific processes cause these specific conscious states? One depressing feature of this entire research project is that it does not seem to be making much progress.

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