Why and How. The Future of the Central Questions of Consciousness - HHM

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Why and How. The Future of the Central Questions of Consciousness

Authors: Marek Havlík, Eva Kozáková and Jiří Horáček,

In this review, we deal with two central questions of consciousness how and why, and we outline their possible future development. The question how refers to the empirical endeavor to reveal the neural correlates and mechanisms that form consciousness.

On the other hand, the question why generally refers to the “hard problem” of consciousness, which claims that empirical science will always fail to provide a satisfactory answer to the question why is there conscious experience at all.

Unfortunately, the hard problem of consciousness will probably never completely disappear because it will always have its most committed supporters. However, there is a good chance that its weight and importance will be highly reduced by empirically tackling consciousness in the near future.

We expect that future empirical endeavor of consciousness will be based on a unifying brain theory and will answer the question as to what is the function of conscious experience, which will in turn replace the implications of the hard problem.

The candidate of such a unifying brain theory is predictive coding, which will have to explain both perceptual consciousness and conscious mind-wandering in order to become the truly unifying theory of brain functioning.