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It is easy to see how we got here. Materialism is an attractive philosophy – at least, it was before quantum mechanics altered our thinking about matter. ‘I refute it thus,’ said the 18th-century writer Samuel Johnson kicking a large rock as refutation to arguments against materialism he’d just endured. Johnson’s stony drop-kick is the essence of a hard-headed (and broken-footed) materialist vision of the world. It provides an account of exactly what the world is made of: bits of stuff called matter. And since matter has properties that are independent and external to anything having to do with us, we can use that stuff to build a fully objective account of a fully objective world. This ball-and-stick vision of reality seems to inspire much of materialism’s public confidence about cracking the mystery of the human mind.

Today, though, it is hard to reconcile that confidence with the multiple interpretations of quantum mechanics. Newtonian mechanics might be fine for explaining the activity of the brain. It can handle things such as blood flow through capillaries and chemical diffusion across synapses, but the ground of materialism becomes far more shaky when we attempt to grapple with the more profound mystery of the mind, meaning the weirdness of being an experiencing subject. In this domain, there is no avoiding the scientific and philosophical complications that come with quantum mechanics.

full: https://aeon.co/essays/materialism-alone-cannot-explain-the-riddle-of-consciousness
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