DOI: 10.14704/nq.2017.15.4.1104

Two Obstacles on the Way towards the Science of Consciousness

Jianfeng Li


The paper discusses two obstacles standing on the way towards the science of consciousness and several possible ways of removing them. The first obstacle reflects the tension between the hard problem of consciousness and limitation of physics, which prevents us from directly talking about conscious experiences in theory. The second obstacle is related with combination problem presented by panpsychism and removing this obstacle will help us figure out what kind of system can be conscious and how to make a conscious machine. It is impossible to move on towards the science of consciousness before these two obstacles have been thoroughly removed. In this paper, I propose several methods to clear these two obstacles.


Hard Problem, Combination Problem

Full Text:



Barbour J. The deep and suggestive principles of Leibnizian philosophy. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 2003; 11(1):45-58.

Cerullo MA. The problem with phi: a critique of integrated information theory. PLoS Computational Biology 2015; 11(9):e1004286.

Chalmers DJ. Facing up to the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1995;2(3):200-19.

Chalmers DJ. Consciousness and its place in nature. Blackwell guide to the philosophy of mind, 2003:102-42.

Chalmers DJ. The combination problem for panpsychism: Contemporary Perspectives. Forthcoming in: Jaskolla L, Bruntrup G (eds) Panpsychism, Oxford University Press. 2011.

Chalmers DJ, Panpsychism and Panprotopsychism. Forthcoming in: Alter T, Nagasawa Y (eds) Essays on Russellian Monism. OUP, Oxford, 2012.

Li J. A timeless and spaceless quantum theory of consciousness. NeuroQuantology 2013;11(3): 431-442.

Li J. Directly facing up to the hard problem of consciousness with a fundamental theory of consciousness. NeuroQuantology 2016; 14(4):708-17.

Li J. Biological Origin of Consciousness and a Physical Model of Human Brain. NeuroQuantology 2017; 15(3): 89-93.

Ludwig W. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. With Introduction by B. Russel. London-Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd, 1922.

Russell B. The Analysis of Matter, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, 1927.

Seager W. Consciousness, information and panpsychism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1995; 2(3):272-88.

Stoljar D. Two conceptions of the physical. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 2001; 62(2): 253-81.

Tononi G. An information integration theory of consciousness. BMC Neuroscience 2004; 5(1): 42.

Supporting Agencies

I thank the financial supports from NSFC (No. 21534002, 21474021).

| NeuroScience + QuantumPhysics> NeuroQuantology :: Copyright 2001-2019