Debate: Can Science Explain Consciousness?

comments 2

Here is part 1 of me and Professor David Papineau from King’s College London debating ‘Can science ever explain consciousness?’ for the ‘Panpsycast’ podcast. We have very different views: David is a physicalist and I am a panpsychist. But over the last ten years or so we’ve had a very productive interaction, and the arguments against physicalism in the first half of my book were very much shaped by my discussions with David. Before I met David I thought all physicalist were just crazy consciousness deniers like Daniel Dennett (here is Papineau and Dennett in recent debate) but he helped me to appreciate the subtleties of his more modest ‘brute identity’ form of physicalism.

(P.s. I have a lot respect for crazy consciousness deniers too!)

The Author

I am a philosopher and consciousness researcher at Durham University, UK. My research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview.


  1. Easy answer: If science can’t, nobody can. It might sting that Daniel Dennett has no interest in placating the likes of you, but I’m glad that he firmly rejects antiscientific drivel. It must be frustrating that there is no clear answer what “consciousness” is but any explanation is useless if it is not testable.

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