Here’s a challenge (an excerpt from the video below) from Daniel Dennett, author of Consciousness Explained:
It seems to us as if here we are inside, somewhere behind the eyes and in-between the ears, and the inner witness is watching this wonderful show, and it’s all…complete in some wonderful sense. But then when you do the physiology and you study perception, you realize that no, in fact, you have a very limited take—you’re only taking sips from that fire hose of information that’s coming in. A little bit from vision, a little bit from hearing. And there’s in fact this competition going on, a tug of war between different senses…and all of this competition resolves itself…to produce the behavior that we’re capable of and the reflection we’re capable of.
It seems, though, as if it all comes together someplace for enjoyment in the middle, and that’s just an illusion. There’s no place in the brain where it all comes together for enjoyment and for witnessing by an inner witness.
So we have to take all that work that that inner witness was going to do and we have to break it up into little bits and distribute it around in the brain in the time and space that’s available, and no one of those little bits is going to be conscious. And yet, the sum of all of that work…, that’s what consciousness is.
Dennett concludes: “Consciousness is an illusion of the brain, for the brain, by the brain.”
How do you respond? We’ll hear back from Brett on this question on Thursday.