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Apr3-04, 05:34 AM
P: 1,499
Quote Quote by loseyourname
I think it should be pointed out here that, as far as I know, Penrose is not a dualist. I'll look into this a little more and then come back. From what I recall off the top of my head, he speculates that consciousness cannot be explained by our current understanding of physics, and it is his intuition that a physics of quantum gravity is what will provide the necessary framework. In particular, he postulates that microtubules within neurons (probably because their purpose is unknown, although this is true in all cells, not just neurons) are aligned according to quantum events, and it is this alignment (on a full-brain basis) that will account for consciousness.

He doesn't seem to have provided any reason to believe that this is true. He's just taken one unknown characteristic of neurons and, seemingly on a leap of faith, equated with an unknown physics. It is the contention of most neuroscientists that consciousness can be explained using our current understanding of physics and chemistry.
Two quibbles. Firstly Penrose's idea about quantum coherence is not the issue here. It's his views on the incompleteness theorems that are more interesting. Secondly neuroscience cannot explain consciousness in terms of brain without falsifying idealism. Most (all?) philosophers agree that idealism is unfalsifiable so don't hold your breath for a neuroscientific explanation.