In the search of a definition
for that nagging entity
inside our heads, it's comforting to know that the problem can be attacked by an old veteran in the difficult problem trade - Physics
. Is your ability to think
some sort of magical
ability or a physical process? Well, I think it can be shown that your reaction
and the storage of memory
is pretty well documented as a biological process
. But what of our ability to realize our existence
, and our perception of our reality
? Some theories attribute this to a biological
form of Bose-Einstein condensation
. Walker uses a nice proof
to tackle the question of the physical nature of our consciousness
(1) The science of physics defines for us what is meant by the term physical reality.
(2) Physics is based on data from physical measurements.
(3) Anything that cannot be physically measured is treated in physics as not having physical reality. Note in this regard that the major advances of 20th century physics -relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and quantum thermodynamics, have all come from recognizing this subtle limitation that exists on the nature of physical measurement and physical reality.
(4) Therefore, if it is not possible to physically measure something, then it either does not exist, or we must treat it as being nonphysical.
(5) There exists something that, under certain circumstances, we experience and call pain (quite apart from any theory of consciousness, this is our basic datum).
(6) It is impossible to carry out any physical measurement to determine the answer to the meaningful (albeit facetious) question: Does an ice cube feel pain when it melts? (i.e., does any given physical system have an associated conscious experience when that system undergoes any specified physical process?)
(7) Therefore, since the conscious experience of feeling pain exists (quite apart from any ability on our part to account for its nature), but cannot be physically measured (although so-called correlates of it can be measured), the consciousness of things like pain must lie outside the domain of physically reality.
As a result of this we can assert the following postulate:
Consciousness is real but nonphysical.
- EVAN HARRIS WALKER (Noetic Journal, 1, 100-107, 1998)