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David Chalmers (1966 – fl 2013) is an Australian cognitive scientist specializing in the philosophy of mind and language. There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.

David Chalmers

David Chalmers

Sources of quotations: WikiQuote, GoodReads, BrainyQuote, ThinkExist,


Quotations from David Chalmers

How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness?

Now I have to say I’m a complete atheist, I have no religious views myself and no spiritual views, except very watered down humanistic spiritual views, and consciousness is just a fact of life, it’s a natural fact of life.

I think the existence of zombies would contradict certain laws of nature in our world. It seems to be a law of nature, in our world, that when you get a brain of a certain character you get consciousness going along with it.

I had the idea that it would be wonderful to be a physicist or a mathematician maybe 500 years ago around the time of Newton when there were really fundamental things just lying around to be discovered.

Even when I was studying mathematics, physics, and computer science, it always seemed that the problem of consciousness was about the most interesting problem out there for science to come to grips with.

There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.

Actually, I think most people accept the existence of qualia.

You have a different kind of experience — a different quality of experience — when you see red, when you see green, when you hear middle C, when you taste chocolate. Whenever you’re conscious, whenever you have a subjective experience, it feels like something.

Sacred texts are universal and their truths are eternal. There is not a thing that we sing that doesn’t have our personal conviction.

Any sacred text comes alive in a unique way when it is sung, and composers from Gregorian chant to the present day have known that.

Almost everyone agrees that there will be very strong correlations between what’s in the brain and consciousness, … The question is what kind of explanation that will give you. We want more than correlation, we want explanation — how and why do brain process give rise to consciousness? That’s the big mystery.

People have managed to avert their eyes and hope for the best.


COMMENTS on quotations from David Chalmers

There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem. I fail to see why consciousness is a hard problem; the philosophically inclined make it into a problem because of the way the problem is phrased. There doesn’t appear to be anything to be discussed as there is no problem. Just saying a problem is hard doesn’t provide anything to be affirmed or denied, and thus it’s inherently meaningless and unanswerable by scientific inquiry, and probably philosophical inquiry too. Either you observe your own personal consciousness and admit it to your interlocutor or you don’t, and if you don’t there is no reason for any further conversation, because everything after that moment of denial becomes suspect, null and probably void. But, once any person does admit to their own personal consciousness then they might consider it reasonable that their interlocutor is conscious also. If they seriously doubt the other person is conscious, then once again any conversation between them becomes meaningless. When people have made concessions of mutual consciousness to one another they can then move into more profitable discussions of tests of real causes and effects of other aspects of their mutual realities observed outside of themselves. Without concession of mutual consciousness social life is meaningless.

Those things in a way didn’t need to evolve. They were part of the fundamental furniture of the world all along. It would seem self-evident that consciousness did evolve out of the natural interactions of matter under special but well understood conditions. To suggest or maintain there is a universal consciousness particle seems unnecessarily convoluted, and would require some kind of obscure, undiscovered force field or particle, let me call it a “con”, to be existent in the Universe which can somehow interact with physical matter and permit us to lift our arms voluntarily. I would be happy if anything like that is ever discovered, as it would open up a whole new unknown universe for exploration.

I think the existence of zombies would contradict certain laws of nature in our world. It seems to be a law of nature, in our world, that when you get a brain of a certain character you get consciousness going along with it. A problem with philosophy and its daughter our civil laws is that it is forced into rigid distinctions, right-wrong, good-bad, sense-nonsense, executed-freedom. The way bodies work is clear enough and every cell in our bodies operates like the postulated zombies, and nearly all of the behavior that our whole bodies exhibit is driven by this vast number of microscopic zombies. That brings us back to the statement above: I am conscious, I believe that you are conscious too, and I believe we are both capable of organized goal-directed behavior, and if we can’t agree on that all of our further conversations will be meaningless and unpleasant.


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