© 2011, Carson Bessinger


There is nothing that we could be more familiar with than our own consciousness. It seems to us that conscious experience consists of subjective qualia – the what-it-is-like to experience the redness of an apple, the taste of coffee, or any other sense datum. Explaining how these can come about from material causes is often referred to as the hard problem in consciousness. Daniel Dennett gives a materialistic explanation of consciousness by equating qualia to a magic trick; there are no qualia, there just seem to be. In this paper I will examine this explanation in light of Heidegger's critique of technological thinking. Consciousness enframed in this way stands as a one-sided explanation that covers over more than it reveals. It is still useful, however, to see that it is the very building blocks of our conscious experience – our qualia – that we challenge forth to give us this one-sided view of experience. Dennett's explanation of consciousness is correct, but it does not capture the truth of consciousness.

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