Do People Think Consciousness Poses a Hard Problem?: Empirical Evidence on the Meta-Problem of Consciousness

Journal of Consciousness Studies 28 (3-4):55-75 (2021)
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In a recent paper in this journal, David Chalmers introduced the meta-problem of consciousness as “the problem of explaining why we think consciousness poses a hard problem” (Chalmers, 2018, p. 6). A solution to the meta-problem could shed light on the hard problem of consciousness. In particular, it would be relevant to elucidate whether people’s problem intuitions (i.e. intuitions holding that conscious experience cannot be reduced to physical processes) are driven by factors related to the nature of consciousness, or rather by factors that are independent of consciousness. Whether people hold problem intuitions, and what factors drive those intuitions, are largely empirical questions. However, there is a lack of empirical research on these issues to date. The results of four studies will show that (1) problem intuitions are not widespread, and (2) when they arise, they do so because of factors that are unrelated to the nature of consciousness. This suggests that consciousness is, after all, not so problematic.
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Archival date: 2020-08-14
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