- How do we learn, store memories, or perceive things?
- How do we know to pull our hand away from a hot stove?
- Why do we hear our name spoken even in a noisy gathering?
- Why do all those complicated brain processes feel like anything from the inside?
- What is the point of this kind of awareness?
- Why aren’t we just useful robots, capable of retaining and acting on information, of responding to noises, smells and other environmental stimuli—but totally blank and dark inside, lacking an inner life?
- How could the gelatinous, tissue inside your skull (the brain) give rise to something as mysterious as all or our experiences and feelings?
The Hard Problem has prompted arguments in scientific journals about what is going on in the mind of a zombie, or ask the question “What is it like to be a bat?” Some argue that the problem marks the boundary not just of what we currently know, but of what science could ever explain. On the other hand, in recent years, a handful of neuroscientists have come to believe that it may finally be solved – but only if we are willing to accept the conclusion that computers or the internet might soon become conscious, too.
We know for certain that we have inner experience of sights, smells, touch, emotions and the rest. Some scientists say we should concede that consciousness is just the physical brain, doing what brains do. Others say that consciousness is the only thing that matters and the rest is illusion. And since no one really knows for sure, the debate goes on.