Environment & Economy By Caroline Delbert 25561 Views

Controversial New Theory Says Human Consciousness Is ... Electromagnetic?

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Could the thorny question of human consciousness be answered by simple electromagnetic waves? One improbably dualist scientist believes so, and he suggests the human mind is a combination of physical matter and electromagnetic field. This is a big question, and the proposed answer here is controversial.

The University of Surrey’s Johnjoe McFadden “posits that consciousness is in fact the brain’s energy field,” the university says in a statement, making McFadden’s dualism a question of matter and energy, the institution says—not the classic “body and mind” distinction. Throughout history, philosophers around the world have tried to account for the special-seeming nature of human beings within the world or even, some fear, the entire universe.

From where does our robust self-awareness and sentience arise? People who believe everything is physically present and caused are called materialists, meaning there’s nothing extra that can’t be measured—what you see and touch is what humans are. Dualists instead believe there’s something extra.

The mind, dualists say, is separate in some way. That could mean a separate, immeasurable, living soul that lives after death, or it could be as “simple” as the hotly contested idea of qualia: the hint at an extra color humans can’t see, for example, as that relates back to consciousness.



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