In "The Hard Problem of Consciousness", he stated "Given that reductive explanation fails, nonreductive explanation is the natural choice." but what does this mean exactly? Is he saying we should consider the conscious type of experience as a fundamental feature of life, as in we cannot explain in terms of simpler concepts?

  • It means that it can not be reduced to physical properties, which is the usual scientific approach. It may still be reducible to some more basic (not necessarily "simpler") mental properties. Chalmers expressed sympathy for panpsychist property dualism, but without committing. Nagel instead prefers neutral monism, reducing both mental and physical to a more fundamental "stuff" which is neither. Which it is and what "exactly" both leave open to future discovery.
    – Conifold
    Dec 23 '20 at 22:10
  • Does he state that the hard problem of consciousness is trying to explain the subjective aspect of experience?
    – moh abdi
    Dec 23 '20 at 22:23
  • Yes, you can put it this way, although even defining the problem is controversial. Physicalists have their notion of "subjective experience" which they can reduce to physical, and he means something else, which they deny is cogent. First person experience seems to be orthogonal to what third person functional models science uses explain, see IEP:"even when we have explained the performance of all the cognitive and behavioral functions in the vicinity of experience... Why is the performance of these functions accompanied by experience?"
    – Conifold
    Dec 23 '20 at 22:37
  • And the easy problem of consciousness can be eventually explained by the usual research methods of cognitive science?
    – moh abdi
    Dec 23 '20 at 23:07
  • @Conifold -- we have two independent and very closely integrated cognitive faculties. The first one is a neural net AI, aka subconsciousness. It creates our subjective experiences, including qualia, also our intuition, our sense of beauty and creativity. All habits live in there, for this our autopilot/flight computer, watching and learning from us (and others).
    – silkfire
    Dec 24 '20 at 2:49

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