David Chalmers on Consciousness as the Biggest Challenge for Science

Uploaded by NourFoundation on 30.10.2012

Dave Chalmers, let me start with you since I mentioned you earlier. Some people say
understanding consciousness is the biggest mystery left in science. What do you think?
I've always seen it as pretty well the biggest challenge
for science
for a scientific worldview.
I mean... I started out in the sciences - in mathematics and physics - and there are
a lot of puzzles
in these areas,
but somehow
working in the middle of these areas
you kind of get the sense that we're kind of... we've basically got the worldview straight and we're
cleaning up
some puzzles, not quite around the edges, but we've got a sense of
what the relevant picture of the... universe... of what the domain
looks like. And there's this beautiful scientific picture. You know, the great chain of
explanation. Physics
explains chemistry, and chemistry
biology, and biology at least explains aspects of psychology, which explains
aspects of
sociology, and so on...
And although there's a whole lot there that we haven't worked out, we've at least got somehow a sense
of the picture and how pieces
fit together. And what's interesting about consciousness is it just doesn't seem to
fit the easily
into that picture at all.
'Cause this is a picture of the world in terms of
objective mechanisms
described from the objective
point of view
and consciousness is the quintessentially subjective
phenomenon... it's how things feel
from the inside... it's how we experience the world from a subjective
point-of-view, and nothing
in this objective
picture of the world
seems on the face of it to tell you why there's going to be
subjectivity. So I see it as ... by the way, I never said the thing that you said
i said [...]
I never said science can't explain
consciousness, but I do think maybe it... You have hinted at that very strongly.
Certain kinds of standard scientific explanation wholly, for example
in terms of
brain mechanisms I think may fail
but I see it more thoroughly as a challenge
to science, and it that may be that our methods of science and our theories of science have to be
to bring consciousness in. For years I've organized a conference called
Toward a Science of Consciousness... So I'm pro-science... I'm a glass-half-full guy...