There is a misguided analogy that creats an illusion of understanding that stands on the way to the true understanding of consciousness. It is called 'Emergent Property'. There is a good reason why consciousness rather is a Fundamental property.

There are 2 types of 'emergence'. One is 'weak emergence' and the other is 'strong emergence'. As we will see, non of those can explain consciousness.

If we think of neurones as to cause consciousness, we should immediatly notice an insurmountable problem. Non of the activities that we can observe individual neurones do constitute a valid 'proto-consciousness' out from which consciousness can emerge as 'weak emergance'. It is easy to see that whatever can emerge from EM forces in neuron is just a collective pattern of forces that are different from the forces in individual neurones. In other words the only property that can weakly emerge is a BEHAVIOUR but never CONSCIOUSNESS.

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Comment by Rahma on April 10, 2020 at 6:24am

We understand consciousness same way we understand 'motion'. There doesn't have to be a cause of motion that itself isn't motion. We say something moves in a fundamental sense. Contrast this with expansion. An expanding system may be reducable to a set of atoms that are moving in all manner of directions. We say expansion, in this case, is weakly emergent from motion.

For consciousness to be akin to expansion rather than motion, there has to be a 'proto-consciousness' that is akin to 'motion' this 'proto-consciousness' is still another type of consciousness in the same way expansion is just a different manner of movement. Regardless then, consciousness is fundamental. It more of causes things than itself being caused by things.

Comment by Rahma on April 10, 2020 at 6:11am

So the idea of consciousness as a 'weakly emergent property' from neural activities (rather than some unseen property termed 'proto-consciousness') is actualy quite silly. The other alternative is that consciousness is a strongly emergent property. But there is a problem with the idea of 'strong emergence' that even physicists have highlited. But first lets check what strong emergence mean


In a system with components each behaving in a certain way, there can be an emergent behaviour of the whole that is not cause by the behaviour of the individual components. This behaviour of the whole in turn causes the behaviour of the individual components.

The problem here is that this is unconscious node to the idea that consciousness isn't caused by the observable matter. The materialistic philosopher has to invent a word in an attempt to elude the absurdity: 'supervein'. But it is futile! Stromg Emergence is incompartible with 'physicalism'!

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