The Mind Explained

A Concise Solution to the Hard Problem of Consciousness

Joshua Hehe
8 min readJul 22, 2021
(Image Credit: Agsandrew/Shutterstock)

In 1995, a philosopher named David Chalmers described what he called the “hard problem” in contrast to the “easy problems”, like that of finding the neural correlates of specific states of consciousness. The former requires a complex explanation-based solution, while the latter requires simple correlation-based solutions. By doing this, Chalmers was able to articulate precisely why the easy problems are easy. It’s because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function of mental phenomena such as perceptions and emotions. Thus, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they might be, can be entirely consistent with the materialistic conception of the body, specifically the brain. Then, in the classic blunder of thinking that correlation is analogous to causation, psychology is often erroneously reduced to neurology, based on illogical assumptions.

A big part of the problem is that people like to use the word “brain” as a synonym for the word “soul”, rather than for the word “body”. The thing is that the brain is physical in nature, not metaphysical. So, it makes no sense to do that, at all. This means that, along with accounting for the fact that the correlation of physiological activity does not equal the causation…