Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Physics and Consciousness

So little time and so much to do. What is discomforting, as a physicist, about my narrative below is that it is only an argument from analogy. What we'd really like to do is derive an equation that shows what conscious experience is and how it works. But we don't know how to do that. We are not even close. And no one really has any idea. People like David Chalmers acknowledge this and at least state the problem correctly. Understanding the brain is difficult enough. But even knowing the physiological correlates of consciousness do not tell us what it is. We may know something about how the electrical impulses move about as I lift my arm. But we have no idea how it is that I can do that. I can lift my arm, change my heart rate, and change my body chemistry. If I were a young man again, research in this area might be the path I'd take.

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