Consciousness consciousness. The second argument supporting the

Consciousness is a topic that millions ofpeople have tried to figure out over millions of years, but no human has cometo a definitive answer. Theproblem lies on the fact that we cannot compare consciousness to anything else.

It is like to see the colour blue, to taste sweets or to feel happy or sad.Philosophers call this phenomenology. Unlike other stuff, it is not somethingwe can point to or hold in our hand. It is not something we have been able tocalculate or visualise using computer simulation or even our imagination.DavidChalmers published a paper in 1994 explaining why understanding consciousnesswas so hard. He was not the first to analyse these challenges but hewas the first to categorise them into easy and hard problems. The “easyproblem” was to explain how our mind receives and process our information fromour senses to create focus and attention. Explaining this is not easy as piebut the nervous system and how it reacts in different conditions can determineit.

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The “hard problem” in contrast is much harder to solve- nearimpossible. The hard problem isdetermining why or how consciousness occurs given the right arrangement ofbrain matter. So why do people think thatthe “hard problem is insolvable”. There are two arguments supportingthis view. The first argument is that our weak brains are not able to find asolution because our brains do not have the ability to take in the vast amountof information and then process it, which would then lead to an understandingof consciousness. The second argument supporting the statement is that asolution to a problem requires that you not be part of the problem.

What doesthat mean? To solve a problem, or the argument, you must have an understandingof the facts and mechanisms that lead to the problem. But since that all of usreading this are conscious, we can never come to a decisive conclusion thatisn’t bias. But thisthis argument fails to cover the fact that we can use inductive thinking tofind out. The dictionary definition for inductive thinking is Inductivereasoning is a style of reasoning in which decisions are made and conclusionsare reached by a process of analysing available evidence and past experiences.But in simple terms inductive thinking is the “bottom-up” logic we often use toconstruct beliefs in our daily lives. One way we use induction every day is when choosing what towear.

We choose a particular type of outfit to wear based on past weather. Ifwe know the outdoor temperature has been 25 degrees Celsius for the last 10days, we can assume it will be hot outside, thus it is appropriate to put on ashort-sleeved t-shirt and even some shorts. Of course, you could be totallywrong by using inductive thoughts. For example, this summer you might find thata 25-degree day follows a 12-degree day. In that case the belief you arrived isfalse. But induction seems to work in many most of the time.

So, it’s unclearwhy we could not use inductive reasoning to solve the hard problem.Another theory, functionalism, holds thatmental states are chosen by the function or role they play in a given system.Under this view, mental states exist as causal relations to other mentalstates. Functionalism is especially popular among a group calledcomputationalists, those who believe the brain is just a biologicalimplementation of a computer. According to computationalists the brain is asupercomputer which is physically able to realize mental states, However thefunctionalism argument does have its weaknesses. Many philosophers have arguedthat there is not enoughevidence to account for consciousness because the role a mental state playsdoesn’t explain why there is a state of consciousness.

It’s not clear why allour mental states wouldn’t just be processed unconsciously, like many of ourvital systems are.Descartes,a French philosopher, proposed the idea of “cogito ergo sum” (Ithink; therefore, I am), suggested that the act of just thinking demonstratesthe reality of one’s existence and consciousness. Today, consciousness is oftenviewed as an individual’s awareness of their own internal states as well as theevents going on around them. If you can describe something you are experiencingin words, then it is part of your consciousness.In the last few decades, neuroscientistshave begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from anevidence-based perspective.

Many researchers have sought to discover specificneurons or neural networks that are linked to conscious experiences. They havebeen trying to look at patients in comas and differentiate their brain activityto healthy humans Modernresearchers have proposed two major theories of consciousness:Integratedinformation theory attempts to look at consciousness by learning moreabout the physical processes that underlie our conscious experiences. Thetheory attempts to create a measure of the integrated information that formsconsciousness. The quality of an organism’s consciousness is represented by thelevel of integration. This theory tends to focus on whether something isconscious and to what degree it is conscious.Theglobal workspace theory suggests that we have a memory bank from which thebrain draws information to form the experience of conscious awareness.

AnItalian Scientist Dr. Giulio Tonoi introduced the system of phi in2004, a scale of consciousness. Everything on earth has a phi scale. Our humanbrains have a high phi; in contrast a computer hard drive has a low phi.

Youmight be wondering why a hard drive has a phi score, this is because of how phiis calculated. Phi is a measure of the extent to which a givensystem—for example, a brain—is capable of fusing these distinctive bits ofinformation. A hard drive can store information but cannot make any use withit, while a human brain can store information and use it to calculate and/orperceive emotions and senses.  

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