A science of consciousness? I doubt it.

If like me you really, truly, unhealthily enjoy reasoning about consciousness, the biennial Tucson Science of Consciousness get together has posted abstracts of presentations from its just-concluded conference. It was that conference and my discovery of David Chalmers' description of the "hard problem" of consciousness that got me interested in philosophy of mind in the first place, and I've since written about it here many, many times. If it's any consolation, I suffer just as much as you do.

At any rate, this ought to keep you busy for the next 24 months.

On Splintered Mind Eric Schwitzgebel describes his '08 Tuscon presentation and his doubts about the whole we'll-figure-it-out consciousness enterprise. If I understand his position correctly, brain science might eventually provide a truthful account of phenomenal experience, but subjective report is ultimately needed and those reports can be shown to be unreliable, as he has demonstrated through some experimentation.

Schwitzgebel offers a succinct explanation of this line of thought elsewhere on his blog.

Unlike natural and symbolic languages, which hold descriptive and predictive powers, your consciousness and mine is in direct contact the world, constantly editing reality so that it's intelligible and at some level, comprehensible. And unlike language, there are no one-to-one equivalences to be deployed in the conquest of matter, no clever formulas or stirring poetry to keep what's real at a manageable distance. Consciousness seeks meaning in a confrontation with everything, all at once.

This should boggle us. I'm not surprised that the mechanism itself should incomprehensible. And I too tend to think it will remain so.

Like I said, I enjoy this stuff.

Reading these words on your computer screen, you're probably aware of a certain phenomenal experience of your own. Something like 'wow!" And by "wow!" you're thinking that "Wayne has just had another one of his crap-tasm's!"

Says you.

I wouldn't know what you mean.

Wayne