Is the hypothesis "self — awareness is a function of brain physiology" considered scientific and why?
Self-awareness, that is, the ability of a living individual to experience subjective experience, is considered by many to be one of the physiological functions of the brain, such as memory, recognition, body control, and others.At the same time, it is impossible to refute or confirm the very assumption that such a thing as self-consciousness exists at all. That is, on the one hand, it seems to be obvious to each individual from the inside, on the other hand, no one can "prove" the existence of this sensation to an external observer. Read more in the search engine "difficult problem of consciousness" and "philosophical zombie".It turns out like this. Things like memory, body control, rational thinking, and so on can be measured and correlated with brain function. And we cannot measure the presence of self-consciousness in any way, which means that we can neither confirm nor deny its dependence on certain physical phenomena. This means that we can't investigate it by scientific methods.At the same time, it is considered (or not? I may be wrong) with the almost universally accepted scientific hypothesis that it is the brain that somehow "generates" self-awareness, but we just don't yet understand how. While "in general terms" it seems to be clear, for example, many people believe that if we create a model of the brain in a computer, then self-consciousness will also be copied into the computer. But if the nature (and even the very existence) of self-awareness has no scientific basis yet, then what is the basis of this hypothesis?
I find the “philosophical zombie” problem very far-fetched. The philosophical zombie argument requires either putting an equal sign between “I can imagine that physicalism is wrong” and “physicalism is wrong”, or assigning zero content to self-consciousness. The latter will lead us to the fact that we still have an awareness of the first-person perspective given to us in direct experience and we need to call this awareness something, and if “self-awareness” is now a meaningless word (since its presence is indistinguishable from its absence), we will have to call it something else.
Consciousness is what we lose when we “lose consciousness.” In this sense, it is not difficult to distinguish a conscious being from an unconscious one.
My self-awareness is given to me in direct experience, and if there are beings around who behave like me (people) and beings who are unable to behave like me (everyone else), it is reasonable to assume that there is something that unites us and distinguishes us from all others, and the presence of self-awareness fits this role perfectly.
But whatever you want to call this difference, we've never seen anything capable of behaving like a human without a brain. The presence of a brain does not always mean the presence of human behavior, but the absence of a brain guarantees that there will be no behavior either.
Hence the hypothesis that even if we can break down self-consciousness into some components, make it an epiphenomenon, it still does not change the obvious fact that without the brain, these epiphenomenons do not exist.
Of course-scientific. However, we must remember that in science there is not a single one hundred percent point of view. Modern science is based on an experimental method, in which it is considered that the result should be considered reliable if at least 95% of the same results were obtained in the experiment (well, or 99% – different scientists treat this differently). Personally, I have always been interested in the question of what happens to these 5% (or 1% of experimental samples in which the result is not confirmed). In the 60s of the last century, the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn introduced the term “paradigm”to science. This term was enthusiastically received by the scientific community, and Kuhn is now considered one of the most widely read researchers. So, a “paradigm” is a state of science when a set of fundamental scientific attitudes, concepts and terms is accepted and shared by the scientific community and unites the majority of its members. For example, once people firmly believed that the Sun revolves around the Earth (geocentrism), and the entire scientific community believed in this. This is one paradigm. Today, people believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun (heliocentrism). And the entire scientific community is convinced of this. And all other people firmly believe in science and join this paradigmatic point of view. But always, however, there are 5% (or 1%) doubters.
The same thing happens with the brain-consciousness problem. Until the middle of the last century, people firmly believed that the brain secretes consciousness, as the liver secretes bile. I can't say that 99% or 95% of people believed in this, but there were probably 80-90% of them. Today, an increasing number of researchers are beginning to doubt this, considering the brain not an organ, but an instrument of human activity. At the same time, however, no one doubts that the brain is among all the human organs (hands, feet, liver, heart, spleen, etc. P.) has some very significant significance, which, however, is still covered by a mystery that scientists cannot discover in any way.
So the answer to your question is: Of course, the problem of “brain-self-consciousness (consciousness, psyche)” is one of the main scientific problems and has always been so, i.e. people always tried to rationally answer the question of what this connection is, and other people believed them if someone's point of view became a paradigm.
I will answer the question: is the hypothesis “self – awareness is a function of brain physiology” considered anti-scientific and why?
In order to prove this and any other hypothesis, you need to provide data from experimental experiments.
What experimental data does science have? Yes, nothing.
Natalia Petrovna Bekhtereva-Academician, neurophysiologist, scientific director of the Brain Institute: ”
“Science is not an antagonist to faith from any point of view …Another question is that science itself at some point began to oppose itself to religion. And this, from my point of view, is strange, because her current state just convinces of the truthfulness of the postulates set forth, for example, in the holy Scriptures.”
And here are the thoughts of Albert Einstein :
“Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the desire for truth and understanding. But the source of this feeling comes from the realm of religion.
From there – the belief in the possibility that the rules of this world are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I can't imagine a real scientist without a strong belief in this.
Figuratively, the situation can be described as follows: science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.
Religion, art, and science are branches of the same tree.
My faith consists in the humble worship of a Spirit incomparably superior to us and revealing itself to us in the few things that our feeble, perishable minds are capable of knowing.”
So looking for consciousness in the “physiology of the brain” is like looking at a TV broadcasting a concert, live performers.
Let's define the terms. There is a concept of “self-awareness” or self-knowledge.
There is a subjective experience – this is a phenomenal consciousness. And these are different things.
Gilbert Ryle researched “self-knowledge” in detail http://psylib.org.ua/books/railg01/txt06.htm
He wittily debunked some of the illusions about how we gain knowledge about our inner states
However, I do not agree with Ryle's view that introspection does not exist. I like Armstrong's theory that there are some sort of receptors in the human brain that detect states of the brain itself. It is through this “mental proprioception” that self-knowledge arises, knowledge of what I think and feel.
So, self-awareness is a physiological process by which the brain receives and processes information about its own mental states (which are also physiological states of the brain)
2) Phenomenal consciousness
How does subjective experience differ from the processes in the brain that correlate with it? Let's look at the example of sensations. Sensations have the following properties: simplicity, quality, sensations are felt only by one person. Neurocorrelates are complex and accessible to different observers and instruments.
The chasm seems insurmountable.
And the key is that sensations are an informational process. And this information is extremely poor. For example, we do not perceive the entire set of properties of electromagnetic waves. Our eye is excited only for a narrow visible part of the spectrum and turns it into SIMPLE (!) messages: red, green…
Types of sensations: redness, coldness-what is called qualia is the “thesaurus” of our brain. And it is broken down into simple components.
So, different parts of our brain exchange SIMPLE messages with each other. In addition, as D. Dubrovsky notes, the brain does not process information about the properties of the carriers of this information: the brain simply does not have information that it, the brain, consists of neurons, that it has alpha rhythms, etc.
Thus, it is obvious that the information processes of the brain associated with perception are completely identical in properties to subjective experience or phenomenal consciousness