Consciousness and the Incompleteness of Science

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  1. Trishank KarthikDecember 28th, 2018 at 04:13 am

    Thanks for your article, Mr. Korn. Firstly, let me note that I subscribe to what you call "physicalism" (that everything we know is made of matter, and so are our minds). I read your article as far as the plane crash argument, and find your argument ultimately unconvincing.

    I disagree with you that the two universes are identical. In one universe, there is the physical fact that your loved one perceived the fact that the plane is about to crash. There is, in fact, a physical difference between the two universes. This corresponds to what knowledge was encoded (or not) in the two brains, right before the crash. The fact that evidence of this was wiped out during the crash actually undermines your argument: it actually does not matter which universe you end up in, because you might never know what was the case.

    Ultimately, I regret to say that I find it an unconvincing and unnecessarily elaborate argument. So far, rejecting physicalism has been similar to trying to prove the existence of Carl Sagan's invisible dragon in his garage, or Bertrand Russell's teapot in orbit around the sun.

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Abstract

Physicalism, which provides the philosophical basis of modern science, holds that consciousness is solely a product of brain activity, and more generally, that mind is an epiphenomenon of matter, that is, derivable from and reducible to matter. If mind is reducible to matter, then it follows that identical states of matter must correspond to identical states of mind.

In this discourse, I provide a cogent refutation of physicalism by showing examples of physically identical states which, by definition, cannot be distinguished by any method available to science but can nevertheless be distinguished by a conscious observer. I conclude by giving an example of information that is potentially knowable by an individual but is beyond the ken of science.

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➤  Version 1 (2018-11-23)

Citation

Stanley Korn (2018). Consciousness and the Incompleteness of Science. Researchers.One, https://researchers.one/articles/consciousness-and-the-incompleteness-of-science/5f52699b36a3e45f17ae7d96/v1.

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