Either consciousness must somehow itself be physical, or else be merely an illusion. Donald Hoffman, a cognitive science professor at the University of California, Irvine, reverses this strategy. He claims not to solve the problem of consciousness, but to remove an obstacle to its solution. In doing so, he rewrites reality. Decrying the futility of starting out from neurons, he starts at the other end, with what Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, etc — and also (Hoffman assures us) ‘most perceptual theorists’ — consider to be ‘the internal representations of the outside world’ that are ‘responsible for our perceptual experiences’. Like Bishop Berkeley in the 18th century, he ends up by insisting that nothing physical really exists. ‘To be is to be perceived,’ he happily quotes.

For the full story, please visit https://www.spectator.com.au/2019/10/donald-hoffmans-the-case-against-reality-is-a-hard-to-get-your-head-around/.

 

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