A Commonsense Objection to Reductive Materialist Explanations of Consciousness

Materialism, at its simplest, asserts that all things are physical in nature, and nothing more than physical. Consciousness, then, will someday be reduced to nothing more than physical relations instantiated in the brain. The problem herein lies with the respective perspectives of consciousness and physics. To quote Chalmers (again): “Experience is information from the inside; physics is information from the outside.” All that physics tells us is the relations between entities, from the third-person. For example, a proton is defined only by how it interacts with other entities.  Physics has nothing to say about what a proton is, in the simplest sense of the word. For all we care, it could be an amorphous blob that has the charge, mass, etc. of what we call a proton. Conscious experience, on the other hand, is directly linked to these intrinsic qualities, or what it is like to be something, from a first-person perspective. Why, then, would we ever expect physics to reveal consciousness to us?

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