Head of a Rock

The New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a short piece by Jim Holt on the idea of universal consciousness. The idea is that consciousness can be found everywhere in the universe, even in rocks.

This is based on the premise that “physical properties alone cannot account for subjectivity. (How could the ineffable experience of tasting a strawberry ever arise from the equations of physics?)” The argument is logical: if we accept that premise, and we accept materialism, then we pretty much have to conclude that consciousness must be in everything.

Now, if this were a sane world, that would be a nice reductio ad absurdum, demonstrating that the premise is false. Yet somehow sensible people are so attached to that premise that they are willing to believe in conscious rocks rather than give it up.

Astonishing stuff. Some people need to apply a little more reasonable thought and a little less ineffability.

You must be logged in to post a comment.