Is the existence of qualia generally considered an unresolved problem by philosophers? Is there a consensus on its nature or whether it can be studied at all?

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    I am not sure what kind of answer you are looking for. All philosophical problems are unresolved. This one is particularly controversial since it touches on the materialism/dualism divide current in the philosophy of mind. One does not need consensus to study a philosophical issue, for many of them the top approaches are mutually exclusive. – Conifold Feb 26 at 0:38
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    @Conifold I'd consider that an answer :). But mainly, I read many pseudo explanations and am interested whether philosophers see them as such too – Probably Feb 26 at 6:45
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    No it's not resolved, that's why its called 'The Big Problem' in science, and philosophy.proper. many people have answers.. nobody agrees. – Richard Feb 26 at 11:36
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    @Conifold - I wish to argue., I see no justification for the statement that all philosophical problems are unresolved and would see it as highly unrigorous. I know of no unresolved problems. It would be accurate to say that not all philosophers agree that they have all been resolved, but we cannot prove they have not been resolved unless we can falsify all the proposed resolutions, and the one proposed by Lao Tsu is demonstrably unfalsifiable, It is therefore impossible to show that there are any unresolved philosophical problems. . . – PeterJ Feb 26 at 13:51
  • @PeterJ That you admit philosophers consider them unresolved and disagree kind of makes the point. The test for acceptance of a thesis is not that it can not be refuted, in any context. – Conifold Feb 26 at 16:55

Purely philosophically, consciousness is stuck between two schools of thought (generally, since each idea also have different sub-theories).

See more on the wikipedia article on consciousness, especially the mind-body problem.

One is the materialist/realist idea, where consciousness is a product of cause and effect by random events dating back to the beginning of the universe with the big bang.

The other is the theist/deist/idealist idea, where consciousness is something beyond the physical, and has the power to influence our brain. Each school of thought presupposes something beyond the idea itself. Materialism presupposes that there is just matter and energy across time, and nothing beyond that. The converse presupposes that there exists some metaphysical higher plane outside of the purely physical, and that our mind/consciousness is either completely or partly residing within this higher plane, interacting with the physical plane.

The train of experiments that had it's outspringing in the original double-slit experiment seems to suggest that the mind is not only responsible for influencing the brain, but that it is quite literally responsible for manifesting it and the world around us. The mind might actually be more real than matter. In a way. InspiringPhilosophy on youtube has a video about this, where he goes through and explains the studies, with clips from interviews with experts.

I am not sure if the issue is resolved or not though. I think we are getting close.

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    Even in the Copenhagen interpretation, it is not being conscious that causes an observer to collapse a wavefunction when they make an observation. Mind can only be considered 'more real' from this in the sense of Wheeler's 'It From Bit' doctrine, that information is the fundamental monistic 'substance' and matter and other physics are emergent. I feel you distort the physics. – CriglCragl Feb 27 at 23:39
  • This is a difference in interpretation of the evidence. I (and by extension, IP) am not distorting anything. We just have a different presupposition. You say information, I say conscious mind. Actually, I say information FROM a conscious mind, you say ONLY information. We are taking the philosophical/metaphysical next step in connecting what (information) with where that what comes from (a conscious mind). Like IP says in the video, the train goes back to a conscious observer, so you can't scientifically prove that it is the information without us as conscious observers that collapses the fnc. – Lexipaichnidi Mar 6 at 8:54
  • I didn't realise that this was seriously proposed en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann–Wigner_interpretation although as Sean Carol was saying recently it was never proposed in proper scientific terms, and this contributed to the bad reputation in academia of working onbfoundations of quantum mechanics youtu.be/AglOFx6eySE – CriglCragl Mar 7 at 20:44
  • I'm not surprised. I've already seen how academia can lock onto one or two ideas and locking everything else out as unscientific. Quantum physics, even though it is quite popular, it's still so early our understanding of it, so I will provide answers I find convincing. – Lexipaichnidi Mar 8 at 0:12
  • 'Unscientific' means not susceptible to evaluation by evidence. If you prefer woo, fair enough, that's on you. – CriglCragl Mar 9 at 2:24

Consciousness is not a problem in philosophy. It is only a problem in university philosophy, where it is not studied. The study of consciousness is called Mysticism or Yoga. Academics just talk about it and argue about their speculative theories.

Nobody in the perennial tradition talks about the 'problem of consciousness'. Rather, they talk about the problem of ignorance.

An answer to your question would require giving a bit more detail since the problem has many aspects and may be formulated in various ways. Chalmers' 'hard' problem, for instance, is easy to solve, but other related problems are more tricky.

  • The hard problem of consciousness is easy to solve? Could you elaborate on that, please? – Probably Feb 26 at 13:43
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    @Probably - It rather depends on how the problem is formulated. In its original form it was the problem of explaining how physical systems give rise to consciousness, The easy solution is to say they don't. – PeterJ Feb 26 at 13:56
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    'Consciousness is not a problem in philosophy' and 'it is only a problem in university philosophy' ... These two statements imply that University Philosophy is not philosophy. I am afraid many here would disagree with that. And 'where it is not studied' implies that there are no western philosophies and books that investigate consciousness, which is wrong. – SmootQ Mar 7 at 10:33
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    @SmootQ - Ah. I was referring to a study of mysticism, which you wildly misdescribe. When you say 'philosophy' you're presumably referring to the sub-set of it studied in our universities since there is no 'problem of consciousness' in the perennial tradition, for which consciousness is the entire topic of study. I tend to become a little agitated when these facts are ignored. . . – PeterJ Mar 7 at 17:30
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    @SmootQ - Oh yes, I understand your comment now. It's difficult to know what to recommend as people vary. Krishna' Prem's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita is wonderful. So is Alan Watts 'This Is It' and Radhkrishnan's 'Philosophy of the Upanishads'. But there is an endless literature and you're spoilt for choice This view of consciosuness is 'non-dualism' and a 'neutral metaphysical position' and google will produce the goods. Good luck, If nothing else it's a fascinating area of study. . . – PeterJ Mar 8 at 11:07

See https://qualiaresearchinstitute.org. It has very interesting things about this topic. But from just researching, it is trying to be resolved, but is still unresolved. Otherwise, I think science will help more with question than just pure philosophy.

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