An excellent article on the philosopher David Chalmers and his take on the vexed issue of consciousness. Here’s an excerpt that summarizes the problem, especially as they relate to the ‘hard questions’ of consciousness and hints at a potential solution:
“We’ve got this great chain of explanation,” Chalmers says. “Physics explains chemistry, chemistry explains biology, biology explains some aspects of psychology, but then where does consciousness fit in? There’s this big gap between all that physical stuff and consciousness. So one of the things I’ve tried to argue – in principle – is that all that physical stuff doesn’t add up to an explanation of consciousness. So you’ve got your physical fundamentals – space, and time, and mass, and charge. They explain a lot of stuff, but they don’t explain consciousness.”
Ultimately his argument leads Chalmers to believe that consciousness may itself be a fundamental in the universe, just like mass or time.
Maybe, Chalmers conjectures, consciousness should be thought of in the same way. And maybe, therefore, it’s more widespread than we think. It could be in many things: apes, dogs, butterflies’.
If Chalmers is correct, then the implications are wide-ranging and profound, especially in terms of how we relate to wider creation. Perhaps the proponents of what could loosely be called ‘animal theology’ are on the right track after all?