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The Mind/Body problem is one of the most controversial topics in philosophy, but the underlying question is what is Consciousness? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio states “A conscious mind is a mind with a self in it.” So, what is self? All of these elements can be approached by two basic means: functionally and ontologically. We know a great deal about how mind functions, but what is self from a being standpoint? And this question leads to the fundamental theories of being that resides at the heart of the Mind/Body problem, termed by David Chalmers as the Hard Problem.
The discussion needs to consider the more popular theories linking consciousness and phenomenal reality:
Materialism or Physicalism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism,
Idealism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism, and the
Double Aspect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-aspect_theory.
Of course, materialism is by far the most accepted choice by science, but does it provide the final word? All we can know comes to us through conscious experience, so any belief in a final theory, without revelation, is a matter of faith. Another indeterminacy and an inconvenient truth, isn’t it? Yet pragmatically, we live and act within an assumed material reality.
More recent commentaries provide good material for conversation:
For an interesting trip, follow this one by “David Chalmers on Consciousness”
From a leading neurological investigator providing a physiological approach to self:
Beyond Damasio’s autobiographical self, involving our physical identity and history, there lies a first-person, subjective Self that exists in the moment where we proclaim “I am.”
A non-reductionism essay by Stuart Kauffman reintroduces human value:
In considering the characteristics of another ongoing debate is whether or not free will exist. A wealth of material is found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will
Consider how do such theories of free will correspond to the above mentioned theories of the Mind/Body problem?
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