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Date: Tuesday 20 October 2020

Speaker: Prof Daniel C Dennett

Start Time: 18.15

Finish Time: 19.45

Location: Zoom

 

‘Answering the Hard Questions Dissolves the Hard Problems of Consciousness’

The ‘Hard Problem’ of consciousness, made famous by David Chalmers (and then Tom Stoppard, with his play with the same title) is an artefact of bad theorizing by both cognitive scientists and philosophers. It exists because people who try to compose theories or models of consciousness almost always stop theorizing when they show how various contents reach consciousness. In other words, they don’t ask–let alone try to answer–what I have called the Hard Question: And then what happens? By systematically ignoring the *effects* of coming into consciousness; they create a mystery, the apparently unsolvable problem of qualia.  A few wise theorists have made inroads on the Hard Question, and further work promises to dissolve the Hard Problem–and in the process the traditional philosophical category of qualia; evaporates, to be replaced by more interesting phenomena.