The Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness – An Overview.
This paper examines an integral part of the philosophy of mind: Consciousness – the most obvious, yet most mysterious feature of our minds.
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After defining ‘consciousness’ in this paper, the author shows that the very fact that we all have privileged access to our consciousness and cannot analyze it from an outsider’s point-of-view is a major reason why consciousness remains so mysterious. In addition, he puts forward his view that inevitably, a scientific explanation of consciousness will be possible.
It is very hard to find an analogy to describe consciousness. We know nothing in the scientific world that draws a parallel with it. Consciousness is unable to be measured or analyzed because at present we know of no connection between itself and the physical body, even if there happens to be a portion of the brain where consciousness is localized. We all experience privileged access to our own consciousness, yet how can we determine for sure that other people and creatures are also conscious beings when there is no sure-fire way to prove this? How do chemical reactions and neural processes in the body trigger conscious events? This is what makes consciousness so mysterious. We take it for granted and all regard ourselves as conscious beings, yet very rarely do we actually stop to think about what it is and how it came to be.