Related: mind body problem, Materialism

How do we bridge objective description and subjective experience (qualia)? Is consciousness explainable in terms of brain processes?

What gives rise to consciousness (rel: emergent behaviour), first-person experiences, and a sense of self? Do inanimate and non-human intelligences have personal experiences?


  • Certain phenomena are functionally definable — explanation of them requires only the explanation of the relevant functions and the mechanisms that implement them (e.g. hereditary passing of genes and DNA)
  • Consciousness is not functionally definable
    • Defining information discrimination, integration, and reporting does not fully explain consciousness

Explanatory Gap

There is no cognitive function such that we can say in advance that explanation of that function will automatically explain subjective experience

See Nagel’s Bat Argument