Consciousness: Beyond Opposites

Consciousness will only ever be partially explained and even then, never in terms of the legacy polar opposites of mind and matter.

Context: What If Consciousness Comes First?

Interesting article, but not any kind of ultimate solution to the associated enigmas. While it is true that consciousness has played second-fiddle to the lumbering mechanistic leviathans of reductionism and behaviourism for some time, this is not a fault with reductionist thought, per se, so much as a result of the limited conceptual vocabulary within which the associated theories were formulated.

That said, I am not an adherent of reductive functionalism which isolates our experience as a by-product of clockwork logic within the brain (or brains, as we have many identifiable functional components/sub-brains there between our ears). As it turns out, the axiomatic, algorithmic foundations of such a paradigm are as implicitly and endemically incomplete as are all other non-trivially sophisticated logical systems.

There is not time or space here to parse the author’s argument but I think they are wrong, but for the correct reason. The argument asserts a divide between two polar perspectives which are under analysis reducible to the same essence.

Discussion of these kinds of topics is invaluable (here as much as anywhere) because, not only does it provide substantive cognitive nutrition, but – many of the key epistemological and ontological questions of philosophy, biology, psychology and physics contain the key to reconceptualising organisations, individuals and social systems. We should all be looking to expand our conceptual vocabularies and from this derive a fertile cartography of thought, seek new configurations, solutions and paths through the forest of facts as we currently understand them to exist; to mix and monster metaphors, somewhat.

There are always new ways to understand, to explain and to design organisational (or for that matter – technological) systems. This is a consequence of physics as much as of logic or mathematics; it is in deluding ourselves that we have arrived at any kind of final endpoint or closure that we unwittingly generate endlessly turbulent and unproductive ideologies, frameworks, dogmas and contexts.

Consciousness will only ever be partially explained and even then, never in terms of a legacy dualism rendered as polar opposites of mind and matter.

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