Authors
Colin Hales
University of Melbourne
Abstract
The approach the majority of neuroscientists take to the question of how consciousness is generated, it is probably fair to say, is to ignore it. Although there are active research programs looking at correlates of consciousness, and explorations of informational properties of what might be relevant neural ensembles, the tacitly implied mechanism of consciousness in these approaches is that it somehow just happens. This reliance on a “magical emergence” of consciousness does not address the “objectively unreasonable” proposition that elements that have no attributes or properties that can be said to relate to consciousness somehow aggregate to produce it. Neuroscience has furnished evidence that neurons are fundamental to consciousness; at the fine and gross scale, aspects of our conscious experience depend on specific patterns of neural activity – in some way, the connectivity of neurons computes the features of our experience. So how do we get from knowing that some specific configurations of cells produce consciousness to understanding why this would be the case? Behind the voltages and currents electrophysiologists measure is a staggeringly complex system of electromagnetic fields – these are the fundamental physics of neurons and glia in the brain. The brain is entirely made of electromagnetism phenomena from the level of the atoms up. The EM field literally manifests the computations, or signaling, or information processing/activities performed by connected cellular ensembles that generate a 1st-person perspective. An investigation into the EM field at the cellular scale provides the possibility of identifying the outward signs of a mechanism in fundamental terms, as opposed to merely describing the correlates of our mental abstractions of it.
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DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2022.767612
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References found in this work BETA

Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap.Joseph Levine - 1983 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64 (October):354-61.
The Unity of Consciousness.Tim Bayne - 2010 - Oxford University Press UK.
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