The Recognition Problem in consciousness research

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The Recognition Problem in consciousness research

Anoop Kumar, MD, MMgt 

Quote:To complement the well-known Hard Problem of consciousness, Dr. Kumar introduces the Recognition Problem: one implicitly recognizes and defines consciousness only as completely as one is meta-cognitively aware of it. This is critical in the field of consciousness studies, for that which one is trying to account for—namely, consciousness—is implicitly defined by the limits of one’s introspective self-awareness. Claims of success in reductively accounting for consciousness are thus entirely pre-conditioned on one’s introspective apprehension of the challenge at hand. This may explain why, to some, there isn’t even a Hard Problem at all: they are simply incapable of introspectively recognizing that which the Hard Problem refers to.

Quote:The Recognition Problem states: I implicitly recognize and define consciousness only as completely as I am aware of it.

This may seem obvious or redundant, but in the field of consciousness studies it most definitely is not. With every other subject other than consciousness, one’s own consciousness is studying and analyzing something else. But in consciousness studies, one’s own consciousness is trying to study itself through objectifying processes. The depth of bias here is impossible to overstate, therefore it would be fundamentally unscholarly to not state. Put another way, there is no greater bias than an experience of consciousness writing a paper about itself without declaring its bias. I too am guilty of not declaring this bias in a related paper.

Accounting for the Recognition Problem, the solution to the Hard Problem may be that consciousness is fundamental, and therefore the very separation of conscious from unconscious is merely a projection of my own state of consciousness. Similarly, the solution to the Real Problem may actually be developing my own consciousness, which then correlates with the apparently external work being done to bridge what seem to be unconscious and conscious experiences. Or maybe not. Either way, the Recognition Problem immediately offers a broader perspective and new strategy for a more complete account of consciousness.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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