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School master teaching pose

What is consciousness? 

To answer this question, you will firstly need to familiarise yourself with "Anything Goes" metaphysics, by following the 3-step method outlined here

And now...

Q: What is Consciousness?

A: As Terry Pratchett put it, in the beginning there was nothing.  Then it exploded .  The resultant detritus flew around the universe for several billion years, combining and separating repeatedly until by some miracle, life emerged.  Conventional wisdom has it that consciousness is the result of some particular combination of matter,  although exactly how a particular configuration of physical particles can result in the emergence of a consciousness, with its own perspective on the world around us, remains a mystery.  This mystery is known as the Hard Problem of consciousness.  Some, who find this story hard to swallow, suggest that a more plausible explanation is that life and consciousness are gifts granted by a supreme being.  

Anything Goes metaphysics gives us the key to solving this riddle.  All the world is models and people are part of this world and so are part of the model.   They are images constructed by our brains.  It makes no sense to ask whether something that only exists as a device the brain uses to make sense of experience, might have a mind or perspective, independently of how we conceive it.  This might leave us with the nagging worry that in some sense, other people aren't 'real' and so don't have minds of their own.  However, your brain’s model is not just a sensory model of how things look, sound and feel.  It is a model of how things areAll the world is models - including other people and their minds and including the idea that there is a you, distinct from the things around you!  It is no crazier to think of an object created by your brain as having a mind than it is to think of you yourself as having a mind!  

We conclude that the idea that e.g. you and I are conscious but bricks are not is a metaphysical idea, like the existence of God, that we use to make sense of our experiences.  And it being a metaphysical idea doesn't make it is any less real or less true - the Map is the Territory.  

Want to know more?  A full explanation of Anything Goes metaphysics and its application to solving the Hard Problem is provided in the book Anything Goes: A Philosophical Approach to Solving the Hard Problem, coming late 2024.  

If you cannot wait, why not grab yourself a copy of Anything Goes: A Philosophical Approach to Answering the God Question, available on Amazon now.  This covers the same material, but with an emphasis on the God Question.  

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