Chalmers, Dennett, & Hoffman – The Hard Problem of Consciousness


David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, and Donald Hoffman discuss the nature of consciousness and the so called “hard problem” at the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. Chalmers speaks first, outlining the general history of the problem. He then spells out the different kinds of philosophical and scientific views one can have regarding consciousness, as well as the difficulties which arise for each type of view. Next Dennett gives his talk, trying to show that there is no genuine “hard problem” at all in the first place because there’s no second transduction or Cartesian theater. He argues that the idea that there’s some inner self or subject at the controls of the brain receiving images, is all just a cognitive illusion. There’s no such incorporeal or immaterial realm of the mind with qualia. As such, there’s nothing that we have that a philosophical zombie lacks. And so the traditional understanding of consciousness must be seriously flawed. Hoffman then presents his talk, describing his own particular theory which ends up seeming to be something like idealism or panpsychism. For Hoffman, consciousness goes “all the way down”. It’s a fundamental aspect of the universe. Finally, there is then a discussion between all three of them with questions from the audience.

Chalmers talk begins at 3:45
Dennett’s talk begins at 43:56
Hoffman’s talk begins at 1:22:57
Q&A discussion begins at 1:55:15

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