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Where and What Is Consciousness?

Photo credit: David Matos via Unsplash.

A provocative episode of Science Uprising takes off from evolutionist Jerry Coyne’s statement that humans are no more than “robots made of meat.” If Coyne is right, then the seat of consciousness, if not totally an illusion, ought to be locatable somewhere in the brain. Science Uprising tackles the question in its typically provocative matter, in just over seven minutes.

For a more in-depth treatment, here’s a new episode of Theology Unleashed, with two philosophical neuroscientists, Michael Egnor (featured in Science Uprising) and Mark Solms, discussing the location, or lack of it, for human consciousness. They agree that the quality of being conscious is not a projection of the cerebral cortex. This by itself makes them both mavericks. Also, both Dr. Egnor and Dr. Solms reject physicalism, including the idea that the self is a purely material thing, which again is a maverick position. Both bring philosophical insights to bear: Solms considers his field through the lens of the philosophy of Baruch Spinonza, and Egnor through that of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. A fascinating conversation, highlighting views that both overlap and contrast.

I was not previously familiar with Mark Solms, but he is very interesting. His new book is The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness, which Egnor praises as the best popular-level work on neuroscience that he’s come across.