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“The Hard Problem of Consciousness”. Theoretical solution of its main questions

Department of Theory of Knowledge, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Topical Section: Conscious versus Unconscious Volition and Control

The problem of explaining the connection between the phenomena of subjective reality and brain processes is usually called the “Hard problem of consciousness”. The solution of its main theoretical issues is of great importance for the development of modern neuroscience, especially for such direction as neurocryptology (“Brain-Reading”). From the standpoint of the information approach it is proposed to address these issues, namely: 1) the nature of the connection with brain processes of the phenomena of subjective reality (mental state), 2) their causal ability to control bodily functions; 3) the compatibility of freedom of will with the determinism of brain processes and also 4) the frequently asked question: why is information about the acting agent not just represented, but experienced in the form of subjective reality. The connection between the phenomenon of subjective reality and the corresponding brain process is the relationship between information and its carrier; specific features of this relationship are analyzed. Mental causation is a kind of information causality that differs from ordinary physical causation because information is invariant with respect to the physical properties of its carrier, can be coded in different ways. The author identifies and describes those analytical parameters that must be taken into account in the problems of constructing a model of the code neurodynamic structure of the phenomena of subjective reality. A hypothesis is advanced on the emergence of the very quality of subjective reality in the course of biological evolution. On this basis, the methodological aspects of the problem of deciphering brain neurodynamic code of the phenomena of subjective reality and the prospects of neuroscience studies of consciousness are discussed.
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