Tag Archives: David Chalmers

David Chalmers

[T]he Everett interpretation is almost impossible to believe. It postulates that there is vastly more in the world than we are ever aware of. On this interpretation, the world is really in a giant superposition of states that have been evolving in different ways since the beginning of time, and we are experiencing only the smallest substate of the world. It also postulates that my future is not determinate: in a minute’s time, there will be a large number of minds that have an equal claim to count as me. A minute has passed since I wrote the last sentence; who is to know what all those other minds are doing now?

David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search for a Fundamental Theory, Oxford, 1996, p. 356

David Chalmers

When we observe external objects, we observe their structure and function; that’s all. Such observations give no reason to postulate any new class of properties, except insofar as they explain structure and function; so there can be no analogue of a ‘hard problem’ here. Even if further properties of these objects existed, we could have no access to them, as our external access is physically mediated: such properties would lie on the other side of an unbridgeable epistemic divide. Consciousness uniquely escapes these arguments by lying at the centre of our epistemic universe, rather than at a distance. In this case alone, we can have access to something other than structure and function.

David Chalmers, ‘Moving forward on the Problem of Consciousness’, Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 (1997), p. 6

David Chalmers

Temperamentally, I am strongly inclined toward materialist reductive explanation, and I have no strong spiritual or religious inclinations. For a number of years, I hoped for a materialist theory; when I gave up on this hope, it was quite reluctantly. It eventually seemed plain to me that these conclusions were forced on anyone who wants to take consciousness seriously. Materialism is a beautiful and compelling view of the world, but to account for consciousness, we have to go beyond the resources it provides.

By now, I have grown almost happy with these conclusions. They do not seem to have any fearsome consequences, and they allow a way of thinking and theorizing about consciousness that seems more satisfactory in almost every way. And the expansion in the scientific worldview has had a positive effect, at least for me: it has made the universe seem a more interesting place.

David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Oxford, 1996, p. xiv