David Chalmers and Sean Carroll
I have a difficulty being tactful and respectful in how I address arguments, and what usually happens is that I don’t get heard because people get offended, I guess. Lol.
So. For a while I’ve heard of this “Hard Problem” Of Consciousness that Chalmers came up with, and I’ve always wondered about it. Specifically, I don’t think it’s very hard. I heard the term “the hard problem of consciousness” and I thought it was not what Chalmers is saying, I thought he was saying something else until I actually read about what he was talking about. And then it bothered me why he would be calling it the hard problem when it is just really a very difficult problem.
What I mean can be found when you read the wiki definition and then when you read his little interview I guess on the post I just reposted. He doesn’t mean that it’s a hard problem, he means that it’s a difficult problem.
When I heard the term “the hard problem” I thought it meant something that was actually hard, as in dense with substance. His hard problem is just a very difficult problem; it is not dense with substance, it is dense with we don’t know what it is right now but eventually we probably well.
And I don’t have a PhD and I haven’t written a bunch of books that everyone knows my name and so I’m kind of fighting uphill here.
The hard problem of consciousness is how it is that someone can operate on a brain and then I intuitively know that that must be the same situation with my brain. The hard problem of consciousness is that which has inpenetrable substance; like a cement wall. It is hard. The hard problem is why I think that something that is happening to someone else biologically, physiologically coordinates with what’s happening with me and consciousness.
There is a subtle difference here and I think the difference is is that Chalmers is assuming that consciousness works in the brain; he is a conventional philosopher. Rather he’s a philosopher that’s taking certain assumptions and casting them out onto all existence, with the only proof that it’s apparent. Of course, he is a scientist Of philosophy or something of that sort. His very difficult problem is really like a puzzle, like sudoku or something, really difficult problem to solve – but it will be solved eventually.
And I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with science, but what he’s posing as a philosophical question is really just a scientific question which poses an amount of difficulty. And this is to say that his hard question of consciousness is just a really difficult question to answer but indeed one day science will come up with how it is so.
But the actual hard problem is why I would think that that explanation that may happen in 10 years or 50 years or 500 years has anything to do with my conscious awareness of the situation as I am talking here into this phone about it. This is not a recourse to subjective experience; in the contrary, Chalmers’ pondering is based in subjectivity. Rather, my hard Problem confronts the nature of reality and thought (subjectivity) as opposed to letting it be given to the common assumption. It is a logistical question. Hard as in solid; not hard as in just inconvenient to a particular thought-world.
If we are to get anywhere, I’d say, at least we need to be less assertive about the commonality of ideas, and more precise and careful about what terms we use to talk about them.