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Mind And Matter: Explaining The Link Between Consciousness And Materialism

First Posted: Mar 27, 2017 03:55 AM EDT
Mind and Matter
Explaining consciousness in the right terms is yet to be achieved by both physicists and spiritualists.

(Photo : IAI (Institute of Art and Ideas)/YouTube screenshot)

Consciousness, the eternal mystery! Spiritualists have been preaching about it ever since. While they are firm that finding reason behind consciousness could help people understand their existence on Earth and eventually find god, physicists have entirely different opinions on the subject. Physicists believe that consciousness could be explained through quantum physics and materialism.

According to physicists, materialism is the ultimate logic behind existence of each and every earthly phenomenon. Everything that the eyes and mind see is caused by variations in the behavior of matter. Materialists believe that mind is just a flesh and blood-based computer, and its functioning is ultimately based on physical principles of quantum physics.

These facts -- or rather "scientific assumptions" -- were highlighted in a recently published essay titled Minding Matter. The essay was written by Adam Frank, who is a professor of astronomy at the University Of Rochester, New York. The essay explained the various hypotheses proposed by leading physicists like Michio Kaku, David Mermin and Werner Heisenberg, among others.

The essay also triggered an un-ending discussion on the connecting links between mind and matter and consciousness and materialism. Some of the comments made on the essay were so intriguing that Frank had to publish another follow-up article in NPR.

Apart from addressing some of the questions raised by his readers, Frank's follow-up article also made a commendable effort in highlighting the pros and cons of materialists' theories that are supposedly based on "attitude of the sober." It also highlighted the "logic" behind the non-reductionist approach of the spiritualist hypotheses of explaining consciousness.

Furthermore, the article discussed how mankind's lack of knowledge on quantum physics and its relationship with consciousness has lead towards the assumptions that the higher level classical behavior of matter may be the key to explaining the functioning of brain and evoking the state of consciousness. Although the theory may sound plausible to some extent, scientific evidence for the same is lacking. Nonetheless, presently, all theories of explaining consciousness are lacking firm evidence.

Scientists and philosophers have their own contexts of explaining consciousness. But in reality, explaining the connections between consciousness, mind and matter is a "hard problem" that is yet to be resolved.

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