Mind and Matter

  • Marcus ApplebyEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 414)


In physics it is well-known that finding the right question is often at least 50% of the difficulty. This paper does not propose a solution to the problem of consciousness, not even a tentative one. Rather it examines the question. This is in the belief that the question is currently mis-posed. The current conception of consciousness may be regarded as an attenuated version of the Cartesian concept of mind. It is argued that the Cartesian philosophy was originally motivated by conceptual problems with Galilean physics. Quantum mechanics changes things. This is not to say that the problem of consciousness is a pseudo-problem, as is sometimes suggested. It is, however, to say that the problem is not quite as is often assumed. In particular, it is argued that current conceptions encourage an unbalanced conception of mentality, according to which the state of being barely awake is the essence of what it is to be human, whereas the thought processes which led Einstein to the general theory of relativity are something a zombie could manage.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physics, Centre for Engineered Quantum SystemsThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced StudyMatielandSouth Africa

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