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Is consciousness a material phenomena?

  1. Aug 10, 2004 #1
    Or does it exist outside the physical universe?

    This is a little old, but it seems there’s a lot of confusion surrounding this topic. Not only that but it seems consciousness has only been brought back into science since quantum mechanics was introduced.

    Wasn’t sure where to post this so move it if you like.


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2004 #2
    I know that I am conscious. My consciousness indicates to me I live in a physcial world. I can not measure this physcial world with absolute certainty, so I can not be certain that physical, is any place but in my head. There is two meanings to my last statement.
    01-Brain processes create consiousness in a physcial world.
    02-Consciousness creates a physcial world that is apparent only in my mind.
    03-A third possibility, at the plank scale, unit of minimum time and length, "what is" and "what is not" merges.

    Only by a very few. Science claims nothing about consciousness and QM.

    No but its effects can be measured by me. So the question is then, am I physcial?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Aug 12, 2004 #3
    So although we know consciousness is real, we cannot prove it’s physical?

    Or if consciousness indicates that we live in a physical world, we cannot determine whether consciousness is also part of the physical world?

    I would say that just because we cannot measure the physical world with absolute certainty, it shouldn’t make us unsure whether the physical world is happening independent of consciousness, and that it exits solely within our own minds?

    Lets say the brain is matter, a physical object. When it’s alive, it produces conscious states. So if you’re physical body dies, so does your brain, it stops functioning and ceases to produce any form of consciousness.

    So can’t we acknowledge those conscious states, which are produced by the brain, which is a physical object, are also physical?

    If so, then not only can we observe conscious states in other living organisms, thus determining whether consciousness exists independent of our own consciousness, but also determine that conscious states are produced by brain processes which are both physically real. (Perhaps the third possibility you outlined?)
  5. Aug 13, 2004 #4
    I know that its real and you say so to, so I have no reason to not believe you, except that there is no way I can be in your head. We could agree on that.

    Can you hold a subjunctive experience in your hand? There is two parts to the apparent phycial world. The physical feel of a pain and the subjunctive experience of it.

    I am the only one who could claim I am conscious. If you were me you might make that claim but your not. Have you ever seen a body walking around without consciousness? When the body is dead, it returns to a supposition of other states. Then why is it a fundamental necessity for the existence of an observer to collapse the wave funtion?

    We can assume the brain is matter, I can verify when I am alive I have conscious states. I have observed that when a physcial body dies it seems to act not conscious. I have also observed that the brain processes do also stop when a body dies but you can not be sure that the brain had anything to do with consciousness leaving the body. Have you ever died to verify that when your body dies, there is no more consciousness?

    We have torn down the human brain to quantum tunneling of electrons. Could you indicate to me which pieces cause subjunctive experiences?

    You could claim behavior elimates this "hard problem" Observance of behavior of other living organisms, to me proves nothing. I, doing experiments on me, could prove only to me, what I am conscious of. That still leaves everything else unproven.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2004
  6. Aug 18, 2004 #5
    If you are looking for a physical basis for consciousness you are barking up the wrong tree looking to physics. The best answers that are available about this are to be found in neurology. Basically, consciousness is inextricably linked to the physical brain: damage the brain and you damage consciousness, upset the wrong part of the brain and you can temporarily shut consciousness off in an otherwise healthy person.

    The key part of the brain for consciousness is probably an organ called the thalamus. If you are interested in a material seat of consciousness, that is the organ you'd want to study in depth.
  7. Sep 8, 2005 #6


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    Mind and body are an unique entity,

    The poor Descartes was certainly scared by Religious power, Spinoza was more right in his thoughts.

    But mind is a complex brain process and it is mandatory physical!
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