Suppose we mapped every possible conscious process or experience to a specific physical process. This, still, in many anti physicalist eyes, will not solve the hard problem of consciousness. It would arguably not explain why the experience is generated in the first place.

But what if this is just a brute fact? A necessary reason for certain physical processes to map to consciousness correlates.

What exactly is the problem here? It is not as if we don’t already accept brute facts. For example, one could ask why physical laws exist in the first place? Or why there is something rather than nothing? Or why do we live in a universe where planets are spheres and not cubes with aliens on them everywhere? Or for believers in God, why does He exist in the first place and why does He have the particular attributes He has?

In all other fields of inquiry, we are satisfied with certain kinds of explanations. For example, if we ask why someone is about to die, one might point to cancer. People are satisfied with that explanation. But that can be further questioned. One could further ask why the person has cancer and then add another why to that and so on. Yet, despite this, no one calls this a hard problem.

Any explanation for any of the above questions and examples will eventually lead to regress. Each explanation can be further questioned ad infinitum. However, none of these questions get any sort of dignified status for being a “hard” problem. Why, then, should consciousness?

  • Because self-consciousness or self knowledge is Infallible and omniscient. Or here. What else is like that (in the empirical world)?
    – Rushi
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:04
  • Infallibility connects to the degree to which you can be wrong or right about something. But that in itself only has meaning with respect to a subjective experience, so it isn’t as special as you think. The very category doesn’t apply to anything else. It’s like saying that among a group consisting of humans, sharks, and dolphins, humans are special because they are the only ones to have walking legs.
    – user62907
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:06
  • More like saying in a group of A,B, Thinkingman and I only I am I. See What it's like to be a bat
    – Rushi
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:15
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    From an idealist point of view, how can mind be a necessary reason for certain physical processes to map to consciousness correlates if necessary reasons and physical laws only exist in minds.
    – nwr
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 21:58
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    The question comes up for us because it can come up for us, I guess. Cancer only happens to certain kinds of living things. I think sharks don't get cancer. I file consciousness among things that are less worth my time than other things that have more effect on my life and more possible options.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 23:47

11 Answers 11


I'll begin by raising an objection to your assumptions: in fact, the questions of what makes physical laws work, why there is something rather than nothing, and how God can have certain attributes theologian claim for him are all hard problems in the same category as the hard problem of consciousness. The question of why we don't live in a universe of cubic planets is not a brute fact--there are good physical reasons for it, and there are probably good physical reasons why all of the planets don't have life on them.

I'd like to propose a different way of stating your question: There is no reason why some particles ought to have electric force and others not. There is no reason why this electric force ought to combine and become powerful enough to produce medium-sized effects that can be observed in the sorts of experiments early scientists did with static electricity. It is simply brute fact that some particles have electric charge and that electric charge builds up with concentration; however, this does not cause anyone to doubt that electric charge is a physical phenomenon. We just put the laws of electromagnetism down to brute nature and consider the problem solved.

Why could the same thing not work for consciousness? Why could we not just say that certain structures cause consciousness to arise in physical things? This is a good question, and I think the answer has to do with the important differences between consciousness and electric force. First, electric force is just that: a force. It is the sort of thing that makes up the physical universe. Consciousness has no apparent physical purpose and has no analogs in physics. Second, electric force plays a vital role in the physical universe; it shows up all over the place, so questions about how it can be are inseparable from questions of how nature itself can be. By contrast, consciousness plays at most a tiny role in a tiny subset of the universe, and if it is epiphonemal, then it plays no role at all.

Third, the brute facts of electrical force involve subatomic particles and laws of force. If the brute facts of consciousness are similar, that implies that consciousness is widely spread throughout the universe. This view is called panpsychism, and it's a rather bizarre view with no apparent motivation other than to get to the brute-force sort of explanation of consciousness.

Finally, consciousness brings with it a whole host of other things, such as intentionality, desire, goodness, beauty, and caring. It isn't just bare consciousness that has to be explained but all of the things that go with consciousness, a whole other level of reality.

  • @DavidGudeman All of human existence and experience is evidence that consciousness exists, in some form, and we're trying to figure out how exactly that works. But we have no reliable evidence that God even exists, yet people are asserting that he exists and that he has certain traits (which also don't match the evidence, e.g. the problem of evil). Those things aren't very similar at all.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 12:45
  • > "Why could the same thing not work for consciousness?" And then you list a few differences between consciousness and electric charge. But you don't even try to say why those differences support your claim that the same thing (brute fact) could not work for consciousness. I'd say the differences don't support your claim.
    – causative
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 15:22
  • @causative, you don't think a force that is present throughout matter and that is used to explain fundamental properties of matter is more plausibly seen as a basic part of physics than a phenomenon that occurs only in extraordinarily rare circumstances, has no apparent role to play in physics, is observable by only a single individual, and brings with it an enormous number of other phenomena, none of which is any more obviously connected to physics? Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 17:05
  • @DavidGudeman (1) Rare? You don't know how rare or non-rare consciousness may be. In fact, and this is important, you have no definite knowledge that anything is non-conscious, and you have some knowledge that some things are conscious. Even if consciousness does happen to be rare, there are rare physical processes as well, such as black holes, which incidentally also have weird restrictions about who can observe their interior.
    – causative
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 17:18
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    I think it’s reasonable to atleast say that a chair isn’t conscious. We aren’t conscious during our sleep and we can be reasonably certain of that, despite still being alive. So why would a seemingly non alive object be conscious? So I think it is fair to say that it is a unique property peculiar to life at the very least
    – user62907
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 18:38

Yes, it could be a brute fact. Just that we can imagine a universe where people act the same but are P-zombies, does not mean that this imagined universe is "possible," whatever "possible" means. It could just be a brute fact that consciousness must be tied to a physical substrate.

Another point to consider is that, if consciousness is independent of the physical system it inhabits, then it remains to be explained why the physical system it inhabits is making mouth-noises about "being conscious." Pure coincidence? "Preordained harmony" (but why)?

It's a more parsimonious explanation to simply say that the system is making mouth-noises about "being conscious," because it is conscious, rather than supposing the two are totally independent but somehow coincide anyway. In other words, consciousness has a physical influence on the mouth-noises, because consciousness is itself physically based.

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    Amazing how Microsoft Word, an insubstantial set of ideas, can affect a computer made of transistors. More amazing, all those sentences appearing in Word, completely unrelated to either it or the transistors. Inexplicable. (I'm agreeing with you)
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 0:59

There are a few different questions there (all of which I'll paraphrase):

  • "Can we not simply say it's a brute fact and move on to other things?" - sure, we could. But looking into difficult problems is what (some) humans like to do; it's fun and entertaining; or even fulfilling an existential need for some of us. I daresay there is no pressing reason to figure this out for the survival of our species, but still - simply by virtue of having been recognized, the hard problem is too juicy to just be set aside as a brute fact.
  • "Why?" - as you allude yourself in your question, any question starting with "Why" is very frustrating to answer. You can always go deeper, until you end up with describing some lowest level of physics in the quantum region - which we even haven't figured out yet, as we do not even know how gravity and the rest work together. There is a very nice video about Why with Feynman which elaborates on this.
  • "Why do we handle consciousness different from everything else?" - You seem to be proposing an awful lot of assumptions here. Most of your examples are definitely not in a way where we just accept them (i.e. cancer - there is plenty of research on it; God - there is definitely no consensus that this is a fact at all). Not even our quantum theories are really brute facts - there are always physicists working on deepening or challenging our current understanding. Yes, we don't have any physics telling us why the fundamental constants are what they are, but that's not just because we gave in and stopped looking. The "how" of it (which is a very different question) is absolutely being worked at all the time, in search of the Grand Unified Theory.

One of possibly many reasons why questions surrounding consciousness is very hard for us to solve is that we are using our own consciousness to do that. This is the classic Plato's Cave. But just because it's (very) hard or because we are maybe not equipped to handle the issue does not necessarily make it a big-letter Brute Fact (or some kind of axiom of the universe, or necessity, or whatever you may call it).


Our search for explanation is a survival mechanism. In essence, it is intelligence at work. If we can understand why our forests go up in flame so often we might be able to do something about it and improve our chances of survival. However, this mechanism produced by natural selection only normally concerns our environment. Humans have been able to survive by being uniquely able to understand their environment. What does that mean, though, to understand our environment? Essentially, it is to be able to correlate something in our environment to something else also in our environment: Forest fires and droughts; diseases and microbes; chemical properties and atomic structure etc. Our consciousness doesn't seem to be "in our environment", so our explanatory mechanism is stumped. In essence, it might be that we don't know how to explain consciousness because there is no survival value in understanding consciousness.

There is clearly a sort of naivety in just extending the scientific paradigm to the question of our consciousness, and more generally to metaphysical questions. How to explain reality itself? We cannot, not logically at least. Reality by definition is all that there is, and so there is nothing outside reality, and therefore nothing to explain reality with. The questions of why reality exists and is what it is does not and could not possibly have a rational answer.

In a sense, to be human is to be trapped between the floor of our consciousness and the ceiling of reality. Life happens in between, but we shouldn't be so naïve as to believe that because we can explain Quantum Physics, we should be able to explain either consciousness or reality. We cannot.

We spend our life from birth to death developing within our mind, layer by layer, starting from concrete percepts, an abstract model of reality. This seems to work remarkably well, irrespective of who we are, from peasants and factory workers to soldiers, office workers, medics, academics, politicians. It works because the mechanism has been tested throughout the evolution of species here on Earth. It is adapted to our environment. The value of this mechanism is that it helps us make the best of our environment. Apparently, it also happens to be adapted to the universe at large, but it is probably not adapted to solving metaphysical puzzles.

Reality and consciousness may indeed be brute facts, facts with no rational explanation.


You may (by which I mean I don't understand why you are referring to previously unexplained phenomena to show that consciousness may be in principle inexplicable: wouldn't it, by analogy, show the opposite?) be misusing 'brute fact' a little here

In contemporary philosophy, a brute fact is a fact that cannot be explained in terms of a deeper, more "fundamental" fact.

That cancer kills is not a "brute fact". It may be that certain neural correlates have, without explanation, consciousness emerge from them. But I don't think we claim to know that - use "brute fact" to mean that we must lack a further explanation - without justification.

Even if neuroscience were to find the sort of brain structures which make us conscious, which I am kind of skeptical about, you'd definitely want to be able to explain them in some way, e.g. why it is these brains evolved. e.g. it would be truly miraculous if they were found to be limited to the dominant species on earth, given they have no function except granting us qualia. etc..

  • I didn’t say the cancer thing was a brute fact. So this is a strawman. That was just an example of an explanation that we’re satisfied by. The brute fact examples were the other earlier questions such as why there is something rather than nothing
    – user62907
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 19:43
  • i would suggest not using examples of things not being brute facts to justify or elaborate on the meaning of 'brute fact', but ymmv and thanks for the comment hey @thinkingman
    – user66760
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 19:51
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    things that only seem to have no explanation are by definition NOT brute facts. i'm sorry you found my answer unhelpful, as i am only here to clarify things @thinkingman hth
    – user66760
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 20:07
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    It does seem quite likely that many animals are conscious, since they behave in ways consistent with our experience of consciousness, and there is no other good explanation. It could be factual that consciousness exists even if we can't explain it. 200 years ago, Michael Faraday was just figuring out electromagnetic induction. Electricity did just fine on its own before that, it didn't need help from us.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 1:13
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    @thinkingman "he died because he had cancer" is hardly a brute fact. We understand how cancer causes death, so it's not just something we accept as true without knowing why. Of course, that wasn't true hundreds of years ago -- much of the progress of science is about explaining former brute facts. And consciousness is one of those challenges.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 6:06

This is well-known philosophical stance called epiphenomenalism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epiphenomenalism/ The idea is that consciousness is just a byproduct of physical processes. It causes nothing, and has no explanatory value. Some people believe that being a materialist about consciousness commits you to ephiphenomenalism.

What makes this "hard" is that there a lot of aspects of consciousness that seem unique and different from what we know of purely physical phenomena.

  • It's hard to explain human behavior without recourse to consciousness. For instance, why would I sit in this chair and hit keyboard buttons with my fingers in the pattern that corresponds to this sentence unless I had made a conscious decision to do so? It's hard to think of any Rube Goldberg machine that produces that kind of result.

  • There's a long tradition based on concepts such as the soul, spiritual practices, ideals, beliefs, values and so forth. It isn't easy to understand how even the appearance of those would arise from a purely physical grounding.

  • We each--apparently--have a subjective experience of our own personal consciousness that feels quite different from any purely physical experience. There's no adequate explanation, so far, of what that is, or where it comes from.

In brief, physicalism does not yet have any adequate explanations for consciousness to the point where we can dismiss it as a "brute fact." We could call the appearance of consciousness a "brute fact" but there is nothing brutally factual about the idea it reduces to physical roots.

With that said, Alan Turing's famous test for machine intelligence was originally formulated to provide a solution to this dilemma. In Turing's view, the only evidence for consciousness is the appearance of consciousness. Therefore, if it was ever possible to build a purely mechanical system that gave the convincing appearance of consciousness, it would serve as evidence that what we call "consciousness" reduces to the physical. With recent advances in AI, we've arguably come closer to that point.


It depends on what you mean by brute fact, as a brute fact can be epistemological or metaphysical. An epistemological brute fact is simply something we can't explain, which we can chalk down to human limitations. There's much indeed that we can't explain - for example, you wouldn't be able to explain to a blind man what the color blue is except vaguely. You know what it is because you've seen it, and that's it. But metaphysical brute fact means there's no possible explanation to be found, the fact is intrinsically unexplainable, and even an omniscient being wouldn't be able to know. However, that would make the fact wholly unintelligible. For the color blue to be a metaphysical brute fact you couldn't know what it is even with eyesight, because so much as being able to point it out as a subjective experience makes it explainable in some way. Likewise, we know what conscience is, otherwise, having this conversation would be impossible without the word "conscience" referring to something we recognize; we just can't (maybe ever) break it down conceptually. And most people can satisfactorily leave it at that.

Out of all the "brute facts" you mentioned, God is the closest something can get to being a metaphysical brute fact, and yet, it's not quite so. Being infinite, no created (and finite) intellect can possibly fully comprehend God, but there is one single intellect which can: God's own, with His perfect self-knowledge. Hence, God is not absolutely unintelligible, but simply ineffable.

The closest anything can get to a metaphysical brute fact is an absurdity. However, none of the examples you mentioned are usually regarded as absurdities by those who accept them, and when they are treated as absurd they are usually rejected (like atheists who reject God because they find the concept self-contradictory).

Further reading on brute facts from an Aristotelian perspective: Can you explain something by appealing to a “brute fact”?


I wrote a couple papers back in the day regarding what I thought consciousness might be, and I think some of the insights I came to might be beneficial to this conversation.

To start at the end I guess, my main conclusion was that consciousness itself was an emergent property of complex systems that have certain properties, which I believe include a capacity for retention of information, the ability to make conclusions outside of that set of information (applying learning algorithms as mentioned by @MichaelS elsewhere in the post), and the ability to integrate information about one's self into that set with an ability to grasp the concept of a self and how that information applies to it (what might be considered an ego).

These properties are necessary, but not sufficient for consciousness, and the emergent nature of consciousness leans towards a 2+2=5 kind of situation. In math it's simple enough to conclude that there is something missing from the equation, and we add a constant to represent the unaccounted for part, thus 2+2+C=5. For some reason we have difficulty accepting that there is actually a missing constant in our explanation for this disparity when it comes to things we feel are special, like consciousness, and we start to make assumptions like that we've hit the bottom of the explanatory barrel, or that we have a good definition of what consciousness entails.

So to your question, I think that the discussion itself might imply that there are still parts missing with regards to our understanding of exactly what consciousness means, and as a result, we aren't in a position to establish consciousness itself as something "brute" or axiomatic.

Comparing this to something we've done more extensive analysis on maybe, I suppose since it's more measurable and accessible at present, we can try to figure out at what point something becomes a brute fact. Let's poke at photons for a second.

We've been able to conclude a few things about photons, like their wave and particle duality, and their propagation through spacetime. They are essentially a very particular kind of distortion of spacetime that moves through it as a medium, a sort of tangle of space and time like other particles and so they interact with things in a way that might be explained by the nature of space with regards to things like stiffness. We don't take light as a brute fact, because we can dig deeper to this wave particle that induces these effects in other things (including the frequency of the wave aspect of them inducing the sensation of color in our sight), and we can potentially dig deeper into this explanation of these wave particles by what constitutes them as a product of this distortion of their medium. But when we get to the medium itself, we start leaning towards the brute fact of the existence of spacetime.

So in this example, we have a much more clear delineation of where we draw the line as far as what is axiomatic and what is explainable, and I think that we can draw parallels to the examination of consciousness in the same way: It's clear that there are explanitory elements missing in our definition of consciousness, and not so that those explanitory elements don't exist. We can sort of observe the phenomenon of consiousness, but what consitutes it is still somewhat fuzzy.

I think that if it were clear that those explanitory elements didn't exist, we could attribute consciousness to a brute fact.

Absent that, I believe that it is prudent to keep exploring consciousness and our definitions of it until we can clearly draw a line as to where the ability to explain something breaks down (in absolute terms, not relative to what we have available).


Consciousness could indeed be a 'brute fact'. There's nothing especially unusual about such an ontology, precisely for the reason you state: that something has to be taken for granted somewhere down the line (e.g. in "the universe had a beginning" vs "infinite regress" both take something for granted in different ways).

However, there are then two issues that arise in this context:

  1. Consciousness seems quite a complicated thing in comparison to the usual things we take for granted at the base of an ontology. Think of all the possible ways of thinking, degrees of experiences, and types of emotions we can have. Compare that to something like electricity - we try to explain that in terms of electrons i.e. more fundamental things following relatively simple laws. We don't take electricity as a brute fact; we take electrons (putting to one side the delicate particles vs fields ontological debate) as brute facts and work from there. So the first problem is either to a) explain how a simplified brute fact of consciousness "adds up" to all the myriad ways that consciousness is experienced, or b) if you take all conscious experiences as brute facts, acknowledge that that is a bigger pill to swallow than normal. Note, I'm not necessarily criticising the latter perspective - it may well be that that's defensible or even the best that can be done, but that's still a judgement worth identifying.

  2. More fundamentally, if you're someone that believes that consciousness is a brute fact, then you may not be a physicalist(*) - and therefore the hard problem of consciousness isn't aimed at you! The point of the hard problem is to say "look, this consciousness thing is fundamentally unamenable to the sorts of explanations that physicalists like to give". The brute fact response is to accept this criticism and agree that neurological processes behave in a qualitatively different way to "ultimately just vast collections of atoms and electrons bouncing around in your nervous system", which is the usual physicalist ideal.

(*)Of course, one may conceptualize physicalism in such a way to avoid this problem e.g. someone like Galen Strawson would argue that physicalism entails panpsychism. Whatever your thoughts on arguments like that, it's ultimately a different sort of response to the one that a traditional physicalist would give.


Because consciousness is non-physical.

I look at a tree, I see green. I can still see a green tree when I close my eyes. So we need to answer:

  • What is the nature of the "seen" green tree?
  • What does "seeing" mean, if the eyes are closed?
  • Most importantly: WHAT is doing the seeing?

The WHAT is you, whatever you think you are. To try to deconstruct that becomes circular. If you deconstruct "you" into allegedly physical processes, that we can still ask WHAT has deconstructed WHAT? Something is aware of the deconstruction. What is that something?

A different way to grasp the difference between physical and non-physical, I sometimes use the analogy of comparing "justice" with a "courtroom".

"Justice" is a pure abstract. It is a sense of rightness, or fairness, or whatever. "Courtroom" is physical, and can be made of wood, and has a size and shape.

But not every courtroom creates justice. And justice also occurs outside of courtrooms. In a primitive scenario, you would have a concept of justice first, and then demark a space, or create a symbol, or do a physical procedure in order to manifest that concept. (Like the conch in Lord of the Flies) In fact, I would argue justice (the concept) creates courtrooms first, with the intention that courtrooms create justice (instances of).

Justice is an idea. A concept. A pure abstract. A courtroom is physical, and is a creation after-the-fact or after the intention, of manifesting justice.

That's how consciousness relates to the brain (or indeed, the whole body)

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    @Stewart "I can still see a green tree when I close my eyes." I don't believe that's true. I'm sure you can imagine a green tree, even this green tree, but I don't think you actually see it. Equivocation makes for bad logic. Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 13:51
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    It is refreshing to find the — very occasional! — Platonist on this socalled philosophy forum. +1! As for @Speakpigeon : Have you heard of daydreaming, plain ol dreaming, confusion, hallucination, mania...?? Some of the most fundamental ontologies of our culture come from leveraging these: Turing test, p-zombies, brain-in-vat, misinformation, fakenews... the Matrix. As Krishnamurti pointed out the content-of-consciousness is other than the ground-of-awareness.
    – Rushi
    Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 1:43
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    @Speakpigeon And then having agreed such a word, then my point remains: What does this "looking" mean? What is "being looked at"? And finally, what is doing the looking? All of which is an exercise to the point: This thing being described, this "lookingness" is not physical.
    – Stewart
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 15:32
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    Stewart and @JMac: Your dispute is an old classic in philosophy. See Lukacs: We see clearly that only two positions are possible: either being is primary (materialism), or consciousness is primary (idealism). Or, to put it another way, the fundamental principle of materialism is the independence of being from consciousness; of idealism, the dependence of being on consciousness
    – Rushi
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 10:58
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    @Stewart I think the whole comparison to justice raises even more questions for me. Like we have a concept of "justice", but is that concept a real thing, or just an abstraction we make to quickly reference a set of real actions? And then in that same notion, if we talk about conciousness as an abstraction in the same way, it doesnt mean it really exists as anything more than an abstraction to quickly make reference to what is really happening. Just because we can think of abstractions, it doesnt mean those thoughts represent anything that actually exists.
    – JMac
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:26

What is "Consciousness"?

Whenever dealing with "consciousness", you'll run into the problem that too many people don't want to define it.

In fact, consciousness is simply a word we use to describe things that pass certain tests. Specifically, the ability to react to the present based on past experience. There's no terribly precise definition, as there's a large grey area that could reasonable qualify, but it's not a particularly hard problem either.

But many people want there to be some magic. Some quality that transcends the "physical" world (whatever, precisely, that means). So they claim, with no particular evidence, that there's some undefined, hard problem to solve. That we don't understand consciousness in some intractable way.

I don't claim to know every subjective opinion on the subject, but I'd wager it mostly has to do with feelings that the self is different from everything else. Feelings that make it hard to shake the notion that "I" am different from "that".

But because there's no definable trait that equates to "consciousness", there's nothing to actually prove. The burden is on those who claim there's some yet-undefined "consciousness" to prove that it actually exists before we can question how or why it exists.

Consciousness is a Product of Learning Algorithms

As long as we define consciousness in a meaningful, testable way, it's not that hard to explain how it exists. Since consciousness, by any normal definition, is just the ability to learn from the past to make present decisions that (hopefully) lead to a better future outcome (that is, the state of having a rational mind), it must involve learning. Learning requires some type of base programming with "good" and "bad" reinforcements, and an environment that triggers these reinforcements.

While abiogenesis isn't a 100% solved issue (we can't exactly portal back in time to prove anything), it's not difficult to come up with educated guesses about how it happened. From there, it's trivial (with modern scientific understanding to lean on) to show how biological evolution works, which eventually led to neural networks, which led to consciousness.

Consciousness is not Fundamental, and is therefore not a Brute Fact

A "brute fact", as I understand it, is a fact that is so low-level we can't offer any explanation for it beyond "because that's how reality works". The Big Bang happened. We can make some wacky guesses for things that caused it (a cosmic, 684-dimensional kid skipping a cosmic rock across a cosmic pond and we're the ripple that ensued), but there's no actual evidence to support any such thing. So the Big Bang, for now at least, is brute fact.

Massive objects (relativistic energy, whatever you want to call it) cause other massive objects to move towards each other. We have math that predicts the motion of objects due to gravity, either in the less accurate approximation of Newtonian mechanics, or the more accurate Einsteinean relativistic mechanics. But we don't have any way to explain why massive objects create forces (or bend spacetime) the way they do. So gravity is a brute fact.

Anything arising from brute facts is "explainable" as a product of those brute facts, and is not itself a brute fact.

Because consciousness is easily-enough explained as a product of learning, which is a product of neural nets, which is a product of biological evolution, which is a product of chemistry, which is a product of quantum mechanics, it is far removed from being a brute fact.

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