Why Consciousness is Such a Big Deal

Understanding the spiritual worldview

Prudence Louise
The Big Think


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

All my articles are free to read on my website www.prudencelouise.com

Consciousness is a hot topic these days, but most of the popular discussion misses the point. It either misunderstands the hard problem of consciousness, or sidesteps it.

One example of the sidestep is found in neuroscientist Anil Seth’s book, Being You. He sets aside the hard problem of “why and how consciousness is part of the universe in the first place” and instead claims to solve what he calls the “real” problem — to “explain, predict, and control the phenomenological properties of conscious experience.”

But despite all this neuroscientific distraction from the actual hard problem; the fact is, consciousness is fatal to the philosophy of naturalism. Hard is a euphemism, it really means impossible.

It’s a logical problem, not a procedural problem. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. No advances in engineering will ever solve the square peg problem, and no advances in neuroscience can solve the hard problem of consciousness.

Consciousness is naturalism’s square peg. You can’t fit consciousness into a worldview that says natural things are the only things that exist.