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1.2d. `Hard' and `Easy' Problems (`Hard' and `Easy' Problems on PhilPapers)

See also:
Alter, Torin (forthcoming). The hard problem of consciousness. In T. Bayne, A. Cleeremans & P. Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: As I type these words, cognitive systems in my brain engage in visual and auditory information processing. This processing is accompanied by subjective states of consciousness, such as the auditory experience of hearing the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard and the visual experience of seeing the letters appear on the screen. How does the brain's activity generate such experiences? Why should it be accompanied by conscious experience in the first place? This is the hard problem of consciousness
Arvan, Marcus (1998). Out with Qualia and in with Consciousness: Why the Hard Problem is a Myth. Dissertation, Tufts Honours Thesis   (Google)
Abstract: The subjective features of conscious mental processes--as opposed to their physical causes and effects--cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlies appearances." (Nagel, in Dennett, 1991, p. 372)
Bilodeau, D. (1996). Physics, machines, and the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6):386-401.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Block, Ned (2002). The harder problem of consciousness. Journal of Philosophy 99 (8):391-425.   (Cited by 23 | Google | More links)
Abstract: consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of Djin when Aladdin rubbed his lamp
Brooks, David (2000). How to solve the hard problem: A predictable inexplicability. Psyche 6 (4):5-20.   (Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1996). Can consciousness be reductively explained? In The Conscious Mind. Oxford University Press.   (Annotation | Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1995). Facing up to the problem of consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)] 2 (3):200-19.   (Cited by 499 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the door to further progress is opened. In the second half of the paper, I argue that if we move to a new kind of nonreductive explanation, a naturalistic account of consciousness can be given. I put forward my own candidate for such an account: a nonreductive theory based on principles of structural coherence and organizational invariance, and a double-aspect theory of information
Chalmers, David J. (1997). Moving forward on the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (1):3-46.   (Cited by 37 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper is a response to the 26 commentaries on my paper "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness". First, I respond to deflationary critiques, including those that argue that there is no "hard" problem of consciousness or that it can be accommodated within a materialist framework. Second, I respond to nonreductive critiques, including those that argue that the problems of consciousness are harder than I have suggested, or that my framework for addressing them is flawed. Third, I address positive proposals for addressing the problem of consciousness, including those based in neuroscience and cognitive science, phenomenology, physics, and fundamental psychophysical theories. Reply to: Baars, Bilodeau, Churchland, Clark, Clarke, Crick & Koch, Dennett, Hameroff & Penrose, Hardcastle, Hodgson, Hut & Shepard, Libet, Lowe, MacLennan, McGinn, Mills, O'Hara & Scutt, Price, Robinson, Rosenberg, Seager, Shear, Stapp, Varela, Velmans
Chalmers, David J. (2007). The hard problem of consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1995). The puzzle of conscious experience. Scientific American 273 (6):80-86.   (Cited by 89 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the world and the most mysterious. There is nothing we know about more directly than consciousness, but it is extraordinarily hard to reconcile it with everything else we know. Why does it exist? What does it do? How could it possibly arise from neural processes in the brain? These questions are among the most intriguing in all of science
Chalmers, David J. (1998). The problems of consciousness. In H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. Castellucci & S. Rossignol (eds.), Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience. Lippincott-Raven.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper is an edited transcription of a talk at the 1997 Montreal symposium on "Consciousness at the Frontiers of Neuroscience". There's not much here that isn't said elsewhere, e.g. in "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" and "How Can We Construct a Science of Consciousness?"]]
Churchland, Patricia S. (1996). The hornswoggle problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6):402-8.   (Cited by 20 | Annotation | Google)
Clark, Thomas W. (1995). Function and phenomenology: Closing the explanatory gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2:241-54.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google)
Cleeremans, Axel (1998). The other hard problem: How to bridge the gap between subsymbolic and symbolic cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):22-23.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The constructivist notion that features are purely functional is incompatible with the classical computational metaphor of mind. I suggest that the discontent expressed by Schyns, Goldstone and Thibaut about fixed-features theories of categorization reflects the growing impact of connectionism, and show how their perspective is similar to recent research on implicit learning, consciousness, and development. A hard problem remains, however: How to bridge the gap between subsymbolic and symbolic cognition
Cotterill, Rodney M. J. (2003). Conscious unity, emotion, dreaming, and the solution of the hard problem. In Axel Cleeremans (ed.), The Unity of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Crick, Francis & Koch, Christof (1995). Why neuroscience may be able to explain consciousness. Scientific American 273 (6):84-85.   (Cited by 17 | Annotation | Google)
Dempsey, L. (2002). Chalmers's fading and dancing qualia: Consciousness and the "hard problem". Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2):65-80.   (Google)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1996). Commentary on Chalmers "facing backwards on the problem of consciousness". [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The strategy of divide and conquer is usually an excellent one, but it all depends on how you do the carving. Chalmer's attempt to sort the "easy" problems of consciousness from the "really hard" problem is not, I think, a useful contribution to research, but a major misdirector of attention, an illusion-generator. How could this be? Let me describe two somewhat similar strategic proposals, and compare them to Chalmers' recommendation
Dennett, Daniel C. (2003). Explaining the "magic" of consciousness. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1 (1):7-19.   (Google)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1996). Facing backwards on the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):4-6.   (Cited by 29 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Dournaee, Blake H. (2010). Comments on “the replication of the hard problem of consciousness in ai and bio-ai”. Minds and Machines 20 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: In their joint paper entitled “ The Replication of the Hard Problem of Consciousness in AI and BIO - AI ” (Boltuc et al. Replication of the hard problem of conscious in AI and Bio- AI: An early conceptual framework 2008 ), Nicholas and Piotr Boltuc suggest that machines could be equipped with phenomenal consciousness, which is subjective consciousness that satisfies Chalmer’s hard problem (We will abbreviate the hard problem of consciousness as “H-consciousness”). The claim is that if we knew the inner workings of phenomenal consciousness and could understand its’ precise operation, we could instantiate such consciousness in a machine. This claim, called the extra - strong AI thesis, is an important claim because if true it would demystify the privileged access problem of first-person consciousness and cast it as an empirical problem of science and not a fundamental question of philosophy. A core assumption of the extra-strong AI thesis is that there is no logical argument that precludes the implementation of H-consciousness in an organic or in-organic machine provided we understand its algorithm. Another way of framing this conclusion is that there is nothing special about H-consciousness as compared to any other process. That is, in the same way that we do not preclude a machine from implementing photosynthesis, we also do not preclude a machine from implementing H-consciousness. While one may be more difficult in practice, it is a problem of science and engineering, and no longer a philosophical question. I propose that Boltuc’s conclusion, while plausible and convincing, comes at a very high price; the argument given for his conclusion does not exclude any conceivable process from machine implementation. In short, if we make some assumptions about the equivalence of a rough notion of algorithm and then tie this to human understanding, all logical preconditions vanish and the argument grants that any process can be implemented in a machine. The purpose of this paper is to comment on the argument for his conclusion and offer additional properties of H-consciousness that can be used to make the conclusion falsifiable through scientific investigation rather than relying on the limits of human understanding
Duch, Włodzisław (2001). Facing the hard question. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):187-188.   (Google)
Abstract: The following questions are considered: Why is it difficult to create a theory of consciousness? What are the contents of consciousness? What kind of theory is acceptable as transparent? and, What is the value of conscious experience?
Dupre, John (2009). Hard and easy questions about consciousness. In P. M. S. Hacker, Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy: Essays for P.M.S. Hacker. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Eilan, Naomi M. (2000). Primitive consciousness and the 'hard problem'. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):28-39.   (Google)
Elitzur, Avshalom C. (2009). Consciousness makes a difference: A reluctant dualist’s confession. In A. Batthyany & A. C. Elitzur (eds.), Irreducibly Conscious: Selected Papers on Consciousness.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper’s outline is as follows. In sections 1-3 I give an exposi¬tion of the Mind-Body Problem, with emphasis on what I believe to be the heart of the problem, namely, the Percepts-Qualia Nonidentity and its incompatibility with the Physical Closure Paradigm. In 4 I present the “Qualia Inaction Postulate” underlying all non-interactionist theo¬ries that seek to resolve the above problem. Against this convenient postulate I propose in section 5 the “Bafflement Ar¬gument,” which is this paper's main thesis. Sections 6-11 critically dis¬cuss attempts to dismiss the Bafflement Argument by the “Baf¬flement=Mis¬perception Equation.” Section 12 offers a refutation of all such attempts in the form of a concise “Asymmetry Proof.” Section 13 points out the bearing of the Bafflement Argument on the evolutionary role of consciousness while section 14 acknowledges the price that has to be paid for it in terms of basic physical principles. Section 15 summarizes the paper, pointing out the inescapability of interactionist dualism.
Gao, Mr Shan (ms). Quantum, consciousness and panpsychism: A solution to the hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: We analyze the results and implications of the combination of quantum and consciousness in terms of the recent QSC analysis. The quantum effect of consciousness is first explored. We show that the consciousness of the observer can help to distinguish the nonorthogonal states under some condition, while the usual physical measuring device without consciousness can’t. The result indicates that the causal efficacies of consciousness do exist when considering the basic quantum process. Based on this conclusion, we demonstrate that consciousness is not reducible or emergent, but a new fundamental property of matter. This provides a quantum basis for panpsychism. Furthermore, we argue that the conscious process is one kind of quantum computation process based on the analysis of consciousness time and combination problem. It is shown that a unified theory of matter and consciousness should include two parts: one is the complete quantum evolution of matter state, which includes the definite nonlinear evolution element introduced by consciousness, and the other is the psychophysical principle or corresponding principle between conscious content and matter state. Lastly, some experimental suggestions are presented to confirm the theoretical analysis of the paper
Gray, Jeffrey A. (2004). Consciousness: Creeping Up on the Hard Problem. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 24 | Google | More links)
Gray, Jeffrey A. (1998). Creeping up on the hard question of consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Gray, Jeffrey A. (2005). Synesthesia: A window on the hard problem of consciousness. In Lynn C. Robertson & Noam Sagiv (eds.), Synesthesia: Perspectives From Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Harnad, Stevan (2000). Correlation vs. causality: How/why the mind-body problem is hard. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):54-61.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Mind/Body Problem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part
Harnad, Stevan (2001). Explaining the mind: Problems, problems. [Journal (Paginated)] 41:36-42.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The mind/body problem is the feeling/function problem: How and why do feeling systems feel? The problem is not just "hard" but insoluble (unless one is ready to resort to telekinetic dualism). Fortunately, the "easy" problems of cognitive science (such as the how and why of categorization and language) are not insoluble. Five books (by Damasio, Edelman/Tononi, McGinn, Tomasello and Fodor) are reviewed in this context
Harnad, Stevan (2001). No easy way out. [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The mind/body problem is the feeling/function problem: How and why do feeling systems feel? The problem is not just "hard" but insoluble (unless one is ready to resort to telekinetic dualism). Fortunately, the "easy" problems of cognitive science (such as the how and why of categorization and language) are not insoluble. Five books (by Damasio, Edelman/Tononi, McGinn, Tomasello and Fodor) are reviewed in this context
Harnad, Stevan (1998). The hardships of cognitive science. [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Comments on David Chalmers's "hard problem" and some unsuccessful attempts to solve it
Hodgson, David (1996). The easy problems ain't so easy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):69-75.   (Cited by 8 | Annotation | Google)
Hodes, Greg P. (2005). What would it "be like" to solve the hard problem?: Cognition, consciousness, and qualia zombies. Neuroquantology 3 (1):43-58.   (Google)
Hohwy, Jakob (2004). Evidence, explanation, and experience: On the harder problem of consciousness. Journal of Philosophy 101 (5):242-254.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Creatures that have different physical realizations than human beings may or may not be conscious. Ned Block’s ‘harder problem of consciousness’ is that naturalistic phenomenal realists have no conception of a rational ground for belief that they have or have not discovered consciousness in such a creature. Drawing on the notion of inference to the best explanation, it appears the arguments to these conclusions beg the question and ignore that explanation may be a guide to discovery. Thus, best explanation can both validate an interpretation of the evidence and lead to the discovery of consciousness.
Horst, Steven (1999). Evolutionary explanation and the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1):39-48.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Horgan, Terry (2009). Materialism, minimal emergentism, and the hard problem of consciousness. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Howell, Robert J. (online). The Hard Problem of Consciousness. Scholarpedia.   (Google)
Hutto, Daniel D. (2006). Turning hard problems on their heads. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):75-88.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Much of the dif?culty in assessing theories of consciousness stems from their advo- cates not supplying adequate or convincing characterisations of the phenomenon (or data) they hope to explain. Yet, to make any reasonable assessment this is precisely what is required, for it is not as if our
Hut, Piet & Shepard, Roger N. (1996). Turning the "hard problem" upside-down and sideways. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):313-29.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google)
Ismael, Jenann (1999). Science and the phenomenal. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):351-69.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Jack, Anthony; Robbins, Philip & Roepstorff, and Andreas (online). The genuine problem of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: Those who are optimistic about the prospects of a science of consciousness, and those who believe that it lies beyond the reach of standard scientific methods, have something in common: both groups view consciousness as posing a special challenge for science. In this paper, we take a close look at the nature of this challenge. We show that popular conceptions of the problem of consciousness, epitomized by David Chalmers’ formulation of the ‘hard problem’, can be best explained as a cognitive illusion, which arises as a by-product of our cognitive architecture. We present evidence from numerous sources to support our claim that we have a specialized system for thinking about phenomenal states, and that an inhibitory relationship exists between this system and the system we use to think about physical mechanisms. Even though the ‘hard problem’ is an illusion, unfortunately it appears that our cognitive architecture forces a closely related problem upon us. The ‘genuine problem’ of consciousness shares many features with the hard problem, and it also represents a special challenge for psychology. Nonetheless, researchers should be careful not to mistake the hard problem for the genuine problem, since the strategies appropriate for dealing with these problems differ in important respects
Kirsh, Marvin Eli, The hard problem of consciousness studies.   (Google)
Abstract:      The question addressed by the hard problem of philosophy (3), how cognitive representation is acquired from the physical properties of self and the external, is examined from a perspective originating with Boethius(14) that knowledge is dependant on the nature of the perceiver and discussed with respect to the philosophy of George Berkeley (1,2,7) concerning the existence of matter with respect to perception. An account of the trails of history, scientific method, with respect to the naming and delineation of the hard problem suggest that its topic of address is a factor of plural elements-perceived as singular, a monism, only an aspect of its universality is perceived. A surface aspect is what seduces scientifically and, as a result, a confusion involving excessive abstraction and perceptually absent empirical fact, is postulated to accompany a false morality-an inclination to conquer it from scientific method is attributed to a seduction by naturally existing perplexity that is intermingled with unknown physical elements, themselves rooted from the same singular perplexity such that an ensuing interrogation targeted at the physical world and unavoidingly overlapping with the strictly philosophical has taken place. An invisible paper thin but sharp and self denigrating third facet to the commonly known philosophical walls, within the perplexing and the logical incongruence's, an artifact of perception and modeling of nature, results in a combined scientific (physical) and philosophical (reflective) assailing of natural paradox in a pursuit to summit human sufferings that are suggested to be, at least in part, of an unnatural and physical origin. Included as a conceptual tool is a section that discusses all possible human behavior as intuitively contained by the set of all the possible paths of nature emerged up to present and continued to emerge
Lewis, Harry A. (1998). Consciousness: Inexplicable - and useless too? Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (1):59-66.   (Google)
Libet, Benjamin W. (1996). Solutions to the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):33-35.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Lipkin, Michael (2005). The field concept in current models of consciousness: A tool for solving the hard problem? Mind and Matter 3 (2):29-85.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Lloyd, Peter (online). Berkeley revisited: The hard problem considered easy.   (Google)
Abstract: The philosophical mind-body problem, which Chalmers has named the 'Hard Problem', concerns the nature of the mind and the body. Physicalist approaches have been explored intensively in recent years but have brought us no consensual solution. Dualistic approaches have also been scrutinised since Descartes, but without consensual success. Mentalism has received little attention, yet it offers an elegantly simple solution to the hard problem
Lowe, E. J. (1995). There are no easy problems of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2:266-71.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google)
MacLennan, Bruce J. (1996). The elements of consciousness and their neurodynamical correlates. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5):409-424.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Mandik, Pete (2008). An epistemological theory of consciousness? In Alessio Plebe & Vivian De La Cruz (eds.), Philosophy in the Neuroscience Era. Squilibri.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This article tackles problems concerning the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to brain processes that arise in consideration of specifically epistemological properties that have been attributed to conscious experiences. In particular, various defenders of dualism and epiphenomenalism have argued for their positions by assuming special epistemic access to phenomenal consciousness. Many physicalists have reacted to such arguments by denying the epistemological premises. My aim in this paper is to take a different approach in opposing dualism and argue that when we correctly examine both the phenomenology and neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness we will see that granting the epistemological premises of special access are the best hope for a scientific study of consciousness. I argue that essential features of consciousness involve both their knowability by the subject of experience as well as their egocentricity, that is, their knowability by the subject as belonging to the subject. I articulate a neuroscientifically informed theory of phenomenal consciousness
Mashour, George A. & LaRock, Eric (forthcoming). Inverse Zombies, Anesthesia Awareness, and the Hard Problem of Unconsciousness. Consciousness and Cognition.   (Google)
Abstract: Philosophical (p-) zombies are constructs that possess all of the behavioral features and responses of a sentient human being, yet are not conscious. P-zombies are intimately linked to the hard problem of consciousness and have been invoked as arguments against physicalist approaches. But what if we were to invert the characteristics of p-zombies? Such an inverse (i-) zombie would possess all of the behavioral features and responses of an insensate being yet would nonetheless be conscious. While p-zombies are logically possible but naturally improbable, an approximation of i-zombies actually exists: individuals experiencing what is referred to as “anesthesia awareness.” Patients under general anesthesia may be intubated (preventing speech), paralyzed (preventing movement), and narcotized (minimizing response to nociceptive stimuli). Thus, they appear—and typically are—unconscious. In 1-2 cases/1000, however, patients may be aware of intraoperative events, sometimes without any objective indices. Furthermore, a much higher percentage of patients (22% in a recent study) may have the subjective experience of dreaming during general anesthesia. P-zombies confront us with the hard problem of consciousness—how do we explain the presence of qualia? I-zombies present a more practical problem—how do we detect the presence of qualia? The current investigation compares p-zombies to i-zombies and explores the “hard problem” of unconsciousness with a focus on anesthesia awareness.
McFadden, J. (2002). The conscious electromagnetic information (cemi) field theory: The hard problem made easy? Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (8):45-60.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
McFadden, J. (2002). The conscious electromagnetic field: The hard problem made easy? Journal of Consciousness Studies.   (Google)
McLaughlin, Brian P. (2003). A naturalist-phenomenal realist response to Block's harder problem. Philosophical Issues 13 (1):163-204.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: widely held commitments: to phenomenal realism and to naturalism. Phenomenal realism is the view that (a) we are phenomenally consciousness, and that (b) there is no a priori or armchair sufficient condition for phenomenal consciousness that can be stated (non- circularly) in nonphenomenal terms (p.392).1,2 Block points out that while phenomenal realists reject
Mills, Eugene O. (1996). Giving up on the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):26-32.   (Cited by 4 | Annotation | Google)
Mills, Frederick B. (1998). The easy and hard problems of consciousness: A cartesian perspective. Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (2):119-40.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
O'Hara, Kieron & Scutt, Tom (1996). There is no hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):290-302.   (Annotation | Google)
Peterson, Gregory R. (2009). A hard problem indeed. Zygon 44 (1):19-29.   (Google)
Abstract: Owen Flanagan's The Really Hard Problem provides a rich source of reflection on the question of meaning and ethics within the context of philosophical naturalism. I affirm the title's claim that the quest to find meaning in a purely physical universe is indeed a hard problem by addressing three issues: Flanagan's claim that there can be a scientific/empirical theory of ethics (eudaimonics), that ethics requires moral glue, and whether, in the end, Flanagan solves the hard problem. I suggest that he does not, although he provides much that is of importance and useful for further reflection along the way
Pharoah, Mark (ms). 'Thing-in-itself' - Exploring the relationship between phenomenal experience and the phenomenon of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: If one were to provide a reductive explanation of phenomenal experience one would explain why there could be a phenomenal experience that identifies itself as an individual that possesses ‘consciousness’. Although not a requirement of reduction, such an explanation would be consistent with our understanding of evolution and, consequently, explain the physical origins and purpose of phenomenal experience. However, this explanation would not explain why a particular conscious individual identifies itself as itself rather than any other individual - Why is ‘my’ consciousness ‘mine’ (materially, or otherwise, irrespective of experiential detail and content) rather than anyone else? What is consciousness outside of phenomenal experience and phenomenal conceptualization? In this paper, I argue that the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics makes it a suitable candidate for exploring the answers to these questions.
Platchias, Dimitris (2008). Experiencing a Hard Problem? Teorema (3):115-30.   (Google)
Polger, Thomas W. & Flanagan, Owen J. (online). Explaining the evolution of consciousness: The other hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Recently some philosophers interested in consciousness have begun to turn their attention to the question of what evolutionary advantages, if any, being conscious might confer on an organism. The issue has been pressed in recent dicussions involving David Chalmers, Todd Moody, Owen Flanagan and Thomas Polger, Daniel Dennett, and others. The purpose of this essay is to consider some of the problems that face anyone who wants to give an evolutionary explanation of consciousness. We begin by framing the problem in the context of some current debates. Then we
Robinson, William S. (1996). The hardness of the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):14-25.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Rockwell, Teed, Commentary on a hard problem thought experiment.   (Google)
Abstract: In the seventh paragraph of the post, you say "This question [which machine, if any or both, is conscious/] seems to be in principle unfalsifiable, and yet genuinely meaningful." (I'm assuming that you mean that any answer to it is unfalsifiable.) My neo-Carnapian intuitions diagnoses the problem right at this point. Forget about attributions of meaningless and all that stuff. Replace it in your statement with more pragmatically-oriented evaluative notions: theoretically fruitless, arbitray without even being helpful for any theoretical, experimental, or practical purpose, and so on. Any answer to the question will be those. Thus the question is not worth pursuing, especially since the thought experiment is science fiction right now. A much more useful way to spend one's time is addressing frutiful questions, like the ones involved in constructing your postulated robots, or investigating neural mechanisms, and so on. So acknowledge the connection between unfalsifiability/verifiability/confirmability and theoretical and practical worthlessness (rather than "meaningless"). Then get on with the theoretically and empirically worthwhile questions. Many of the latter are quiter abstract and "philosophical," anyway (about the scope and limits of various methodologies, existing theories, and so on). Aren't those enough to occupy even the most abstract theorist's attention? Why puzzle about questions whose answers can't be rationally justified?
Rockwell, Teed (ms). The hard problem is dead: Long live the hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I have assumed that consciousness exists, and that to redefine the problem as that of explaining how certain cognitive and behavioral functions are performed is unacceptable. . . .Like many people (materialists and dualists alike), I find this premise obvious, although I can no more "prove" it than I can prove that I am conscious. . . .there is no denying that such arguments - on either side - ultimately come down to a bedrock of intuition at some point. (Chalmers undated)
Rosenberg, Gregg H. (1996). Rethinking nature: A hard problem within the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):76-88.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Samsonovich, Alexei V.; Ascoli, Giorgio A.; Morowitz, Harold & Kalbfleisch, M. Layne (forthcoming). A scientific perspective on the hard problem of consciousness. In Benjamin Goertzel & Pei Wang (eds.), Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms. Proceedings of the AGI Workshop 2008. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications. IOS Press: Amsterdam.   (Google)
Shear, Jonathan (ed.) (1997). Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem. MIT Press.   (Cited by 60 | Annotation | Google)
Abstract: In this book philosophers, physicists, psychologists, neurophysiologists, computer scientists, and others address this central topic in the growing discipline...
Shear, Jonathan (1996). The hard problem: Closing the empirical gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):54-68.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google)
Smart, J. J. C. (2004). Consciousness and awareness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2):41-50.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Stapp, Henry P. (1997). Science of consciousness and the hard problem. Journal of Mind and Behavior 18 (2-3):171-93.   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Quantum theory can be regarded as a rationally coherent theory of the interaction of mind and matter and it allows our conscious thoughts to play a causally e cacious and necessary role in brain dynamics It therefore provides a natural basis created by scientists for the science of consciousness As an illustration it is explained how the interaction of brain and consciousness can speed up brain processing and thereby enhance the survival prospects of conscious organisms as compared to similar organisms that lack consciousness As a second illustration it is explained how within the quantum framework the consciously experi enced I directs the actions of a human being It is concluded that contemporary science already has an adequate framework for incorporat ing causally e cacious experiential events into the physical universe in a manner that puts the neural correlates of consciousness into the theory in a well de ned way explains in principle how the e ects of consciousness per se can enhance the survival prospects of organisms that possess it allows this survival e ect to feed into phylogenetic de velopment and explains how the consciously experienced I can direct human behaviour..
Stapp, Henry P. (1995). The hard problem: A quantum approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):194-210.   (Cited by 25 | Google | More links)
Thomas, Nigel J. T. (2001). Color realism: Toward a solution to the "hard problem". Consciousness And Cognition 10 (1):140-145.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This article was written as a commentary on a target article by Peter W. Ross entitled "The Location Problem for Color Subjectivism" [Consciousness and Cognition 10(1), 42-58 (2001)], and is published together with it, and with other commentaries and Ross's reply. If you or your library have the necessary subscription you can get PDF versions of the target article, all the commentaries, and Ross's reply to the commentaries here. However, I do not think that it is by any means essential for you to have read Ross's piece in order to understand this one. Ross defends a view called "color physicalism" or color realism that holds (simplifying somewhat) that colors are real physical properties (in typical cases, spectral reflectances of object surfaces). This is in opposition to what is probably a more widely held "subjectivist" view of color, holding that color qualities really exist only in the mind. In my commentary I suggest that a realist view of qualitative properties, such as Ross's, together with a direct, active view of perception, and a concept of "extended mind" (Clark & Chalmers, 1998) may provide the materials for a real solution to the notorious hard problem of consciousness. I sketch this solution in outline. - N.J.T.T
Varela, F. (1995). Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):330-49.   (Cited by 248 | Annotation | Google)
Vasilyev, Vadim V. (2009). The Hard Problem of Consciousness and Two Arguments for Interactionism. Faith and Philosophy 26 (5):514-526.   (Google)
Abstract: The paper begins with a restatement of Chalmers's "hard problem of consciousness". It is suggested that an interactionist approach is one of the possible solutions of this problem. Some fresh arguments against the identity theory and epiphenomenalism as main rivals of interactionism are developed. One of these arguments has among its colloraries a denial of local supervenience, although not of the causal closure principle. As a result of these considerations a version of "local interactionism" (compatible with causal closure) is proposed.
Velmans, Prof Max (2007). How to separate conceptual issues from empirical ones in the study of consciousness. In Rahul Banerjee & Bikas Chakrabarti (eds.), [Book Chapter] (in Press). Elsevier.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Modern consciousness studies are in a healthy state, with many progressive empirical programmes in cognitive science, neuroscience and related sciences, using relatively conventional third-person research methods. However not all the problems of consciousness can be resolved in this way. These problems may be grouped into problems that require empirical advance, those that require theoretical advance, and those that require a re-examination of some of our pre-theoretical assumptions. I give examples of these, and focus on two problems—what consciousness is, and what consciousness does—that require all three. In this, careful attention to conscious phenomenology and finding an appropriate way to relate first-person evidence to third-person evidence appears to be central to progress. But we may also need to re-examine what we take to be “natural facts” about the world, and how we can know them. The same appears to be true for a trans-cultural understanding of consciousness that combines classical Indian phenomenological methods with the third-person methods of Western science
Velmans, Max (1995). The relation of consciousness to the material world. [Journal (Paginated)] 2 (3):255-65.   (Cited by 28 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Many of the arguments about how to address the hard versus the easy questions of consciousness put by Chalmers (1995) are similar to ones I have developed in Velmans (1991a,b; 1993a). This includes the multiplicity of mind/body problems, the limits of functional explanation, the need for a nonreductionist approach, and the notion that consciousness may be related to neural/physical representation via a dual-aspect theory of information. But there are also differences. Unlike Chalmers I argue for the use of neutral information processing language for functional accounts rather than the term "awareness." I do not agree that functional equivalence cannot be extricated from phenomenal equivalence, and suggest a hypothetical experiment for doing so - using a cortical implant for blindsight. I argue that not all information has phenomenal accompaniments, and introduce a different form of dual-aspect theory involving "psychological complementarity." I also suggest that the hard problem posed by "qualia" has its origin in a misdescription of everyday experience implicit in dualism
Vranas, Peter B. M. (2008). Review of Owen Flanagan, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (9).   (Google)
Warner, Richard (1996). Facing ourselves: Incorrigibility and the mind-body problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):217-30.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Wilber, Ken (online). The hard problem and integral psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: Although far from unanimous, there seems to be a general consensus that neither mind nor brain can be reduced without remainder to the other. This essay argues that indeed both mind and brain need to be included in a nonreductionistic way in any genuinely integral theory of consciousness. In order to facilitate such integration, this essay presents the results of an extensive cross-cultural literature search on the "mind" side of the equation, suggesting that the mental phenomena that need to be considered in any integral theory include developmental levels or waves of consciousness, developmental lines or streams of consciousness, states of consciousness, and the self (or self-system). A "master template" of these various phenomena, culled from over one-hundred psychological systems East and West, is presented. It is suggested that this master template represents a general summary of the "mind" side of the brain-mind integration. The essay concludes with reflections on the "hard problem," or how the mind-side can be integrated with the brain-side to generate a more integral theory of consciousness
Wright, Wayne (2007). Explanation and the hard problem. Philosophical Studies 132 (2):301-330.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper argues that the form of explanation at issue in the hard problem of consciousness is scientifically irrelevant, despite appearances to the contrary. In particular, it is argued that the
Zahavi, Dan (2003). Intentionality and phenomenality: A phenomenological take on the hard problem. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29:63-92.   (Cited by 6 | Google)