Is consciousness useless?


22/05/2023 (Monday)

8.00 - 9.30 pm

The Adelaide

An evening discussion led by Kieran Quill

The phenomenon of consciousness has always posed a severe problem for philosophical materialism (also called physicalism or naturalism in modern philosophy). Arguably highly problematic by the very definition of materialism, as consciousness seems to be an entirely, radically, unphysical “thing” . The materialist metaphysics that underlies standard versions of the biological theory of evolution is a case in point. It has therefore been proposed that consciousness is merely an “epiphenomenon” (causally useless or inert), or a “spandrel” biologically speaking, functionally inert. Or even an illusion, with no existence whatsoever. Philosophical Idealism (paradigmatic example: George Berkeley) will be briefly discussed as an alternative metaphysics to materialism