Graduate studies at Western
2 (4):119-124 (1998)
|Abstract||Age-old battle lines over the puzzling nature of mental experience are shaping a modern resurgence in the study of consciousness. On one side are the long-dominant "physicalists" who view consciousness as an emergent property of the brain's neural networks. On the alternative, rebellious side are those who see a necessary added ingredient: proto-conscious experience intrinsic to reality, perhaps understandable through modern physics (panpsychists, pan-experientialists, "funda-mentalists"). It is argued here that the physicalist premise alone is unable to solve completely the difficult issues of consciousness and that to do so will require supplemental panpsychist/pan-experiential philosophy expressed in modern physics. In one scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity. The proposed process is Roger Penrose's "objective reduction" (OR), a self-organizing "collapse" of the quantum wave function related to instability at the most basic level of space-time geometry. In the Penrose- Hameroff model of "orchestrated objective reduction" (Orch OR), OR quantum computation occurs in cytoskeletal microtubules within the brain's neurons. The basic thesis is that consciousness involves brain activities coupled to a self-organizing ripples in fundamental reality|
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