The Hard Problem of Consciousness

Maybe merge into the Consciousness tag? In any case, the description ought to be rewritten to actually resolve (or link to a resolution of) the problem. Academic philosophy likes to treat THPoC as an open problem with a permanent taxonomy of candidate answers, none of which will ever be accepted. We should not humor this. The Hard Problem of Consciousness is simply confusion about how a algorithm feels from inside.

(In general, when there is a clear way and a confused way to think about something, I think it's bad to name and reify the confused way without being very clear that's what's happening. This is most of how philosophy got stuck.)

4Mitchell_Porter1yIs there a protocol for this sort of thing? I don't agree with your answer, but that's not an issue. Less Wrong can have an official position on some topic, and I can disagree with it, and that's alright. I am wondering more about this: how do you decide what the official position is, or if there even is an official position? I have the impression that even among Less Wrong's central organizers and personalities, there isn't consensus on the hard problem.
4habryka1yMy guess is we should have a bit of discussion and see where people's opinion are before enshrining anything. In this case Jim seems pretty obviously confused to me, given that even Eliezer thinks we are not anywhere close to having solved the hard problem of consciousness. The only thing that his argument is saying is that it requires thinking about algorithms, but we don't actually have a written up version of an algorithm that would give rise to our conscious experience. I do agree that the above should do a better job than to copy the Wikipedia description, which feels a bit confused. But I definitely don't think the problem should be marked as "solved" or anything like it.

The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why and how sentient organisms have qualia. how and why it is that some internal states are subjective, felt states, such as heat or cold, rather than objective states, as in the workings of a thermostat or a toaster (From Wikipedia)

It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have visual or auditory experience: the quality of deep blue, the sensation of middle C? How can we explain why there is something it is like to entertain a mental image, or to experience an emotion? It is widely agreed that experience arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.


The really hard problem of consciousness is the problem of experience. When we think and perceive there is a whir of information processing, but there is also a subjective aspect.

- David Chalmers, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness (1995)

the existence of the Hard Problem of Consciousness isn't in consensus among scientists and philosophers.

Related Tags: Consciousness

Created by Yoav Ravid at 1y