Science catches up to Aristotle

I saw an interesting report, Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas that suggests, to me at least, that science if finally catching up to Aristotle on the question of the mind/soul. This strikes me as a good development and an interesting one. Aristotle said the soul was the form of the body and he espoused what is know as hylomorphic Dualism, if you want a good introduction to Aristotle’s ideas then I would highly recommend The Last Superstition by Edward Feser, his quite polemic exploration of New Atheism, highly entertaining and it covers the relevant material, or Scholastic Metaphysics for a less polemic introduction.

Anyway, interesting development, give it a read.

Today, Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, sets out the fundamental problems that this new way of thinking raises. He shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality that the scientific process of experiment might help to tease apart.

Tegmark’s approach is to think of consciousness as a state of matter, like a solid, a liquid or a gas. “I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,” he says.

He goes on to show how the particular properties of consciousness might arise from the physical laws that govern our universe. And he explains how these properties allow physicists to reason about the conditions under which consciousness arises and how we might exploit it to better understand why the world around us appears as it does.

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