Age-old battle lines over the puzzling nature of mental experience are shaping a modern resurgence in the study of consciousness. On one side are the long-dominant 'physicalists' who view consciousness as an emergent property of the brain's neural networks. On the alternative, rebellious side are those who see a necessary added ingredient: proto-conscious experience intrinsic to reality, perhaps understandable through modern physics (panpsychists, pan-experientalists, 'funda-mentalists'). It is argued here that the physicalist premise alone is unable to solve completely the difficult issues of consciousness and that to do so will require supplemental panpsychist/pan-experiential philosophy expressed in modern physics. In one scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity. The proposed process is Roger Penrose's 'objective reduction' (OR), a self-organizing 'collapse' of the quantum wave function related to instability at the most basic level of space-time geometry. In the Penrose-Hameroff model of 'orchestrated objective reduction' (Orch OR), OR quantum computation occurs in cytoskeletal microtubules within the brain's neurons. The basic thesis is that consciousness involves brain activities coupled to self-organizing ripples in fundamental reality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience