Science and philosophy – on consciousness (

(My Comments to a question in Quora) 17.5.18


Me: I agree with what you say, except saying or implying that consciousness can be ‘explained’. Yes, the brain is a transducer or vehicle from the immaterial to the material (subtle to gross), but consciousness is an ineffable entity, a ‘given’ (and unanalyzable entity), as existence is such. Scientists don’t like those terms, I know. Mechanism, cause and effect, and everything that is measurable or quantifiable can be worked with and potentially explained, as they have to do with empirical reality, but consciousness (and the hard problem or qualia) are not amenable to that kind of analysis, quantification and falsifiability. In the same way, philosophy is not (empirical) science – it will always go beyond. There is a philosophy of science, but not a science of philosophy, although the latter – philosophy – is not outside the realm of knowledge or what we can call such.

Space, time, and causality, though elusive concepts/’realities’ and formerly categorized as ‘metaphysical’ (they still are) can be scientifically studied, I can’t deny that, but consciousness is supra-ontological and cannot be a part of physics (the pre-socratic philosophers were called ‘physiologoi’, similar to theoretical physicists, but in fact they were ontologists or metaphysicians looking for the origin, or the principle or essence, of things, of nature); consciousness, however, is indefinable, unmeasurable and invariable or changeless. It is not a cause, and therefore cannot have effects or relationships – one can only say that it is a/the universal or background witness to/of everything, a witness that doesn’t do anything, only silently or passively reflect fleeting inward or outward phenomena. To add to the mystery, consciousness can be objectless (as in forms of meditation and contemplation). It is like the Tao. cf. Taoism – Wikipedia

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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