THE SPREAD MIND
Why our experience and the object we experience are one

What is consciousness? What and where is our experience?

What is our (conscious) experience made of? How does consciousness fit in the physical world of stars, trees, mountains, animals, and bodies? My starting point is that everything that is real is physical and thus it is located somewhere in space and in time and has an actual causal role, consciousness too.

Then, where and what is consciousness?

According to neuroscience, consciousness is secreted by the brain, much as the pancreas secretes insulin. We are told that information gets in, neurons do some magic, and consciousness is excreted. So far, though, neuroscience has been unable to explain why neural firings should produce consciousness. In fact, the very existence of consciousness is like Monty Python's Spanish inquisition... it is totally unexpected! As of yet, the world's greatest minds have not been able to outline a convincing explanation.

Once Albert Einstein said

In the interest of science it is necessary over and over again to engage in the critique of fundamental concepts [...] especially in those situations in which the consistent use of the traditional fundamental concepts leads us to paradoxes difficult to resolve.

No problem has spawned more paradoxes or offered a more stubborn resistance to empirical approaches than the problem of consciousness. I believe this is because the mind-body problem is based on a wrong conceptual turn.

Here, a radically different approach is introduced consciousness, albeit physical, is not inside one's body. What is consciousness then? The key hypothesis is that

one's consciousness of an object is the object one is conscious of

The idea that conscious experience is the physical object one is conscious of is the core of the The Spread Mind view.

Riccardo Manzotti, January 27, 2015 (2nd update November 5)