Thursday, March 9, 2017



Philosophers have a way with words; and David Chalmers is no exception. In the abstract to his paper “Facing up to the Problem of Consciousness”, he says:
“Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain. All sorts of mental phenomena have yielded to scientific investigation in recent years, but consciousness has stubbornly resisted. Many have tried to explain it, but the explanations always seem to fall short of the target. Some have been led to suppose that the problem is intractable, and that no good explanation can be given.”

He goes on to say: “To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly.” In the paper, he attempts to “isolate the hard part of the problem”, separating it from the easier parts to deal with, like visual perception and brain function, and then attempts to explain why consciousness is so difficult to describe definitively.  He critiques the use of the normal reductive methods of science as an approach to understanding consciousness, arguing that reductive methods, i.e. reducing the object of analysis to its constituent parts, cannot touch the hardest part of the problem. He proposes that “Once this failure is recognized, the door to further progress is opened.” In the second half of the paper, he argues that if we progress to a “nonreductive explanation, a naturalistic account of consciousness can be given.” Finally, he proposes “a nonreductive theory based on principles of structural coherence and organizational invariance and a double-aspect view of information.
Wikipedia defines the problem as follows:
The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes. The philosopher David Chalmers, who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness, contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, etc. Easy problems are easy because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function. That is, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they may be, can be entirely consistent with the modern materialistic conception of natural phenomena. Chalmers claims that the problem of experience is distinct from this set, and he argues that the problem of experience will "persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained”.

The only thing we experience directly is our own consciousness. Everything else is experienced indirectly through the reduction valves of our physical senses. Our eyes and optic nerves, e.g., filter out all but a very small fraction of the radiant energy flooding the universe, and the brain constructs images that we mistakenly take for reality itself. This is why, for the most part, science employs reductive methods. It is far easier to find ways to study the mechanisms by which we perceive reality than to find a way to study reality itself.

If we take the “easy” way of reductionist science, we confuse consciousness with what it does, and equate consciousness with awareness. When we do this, as some philosophers, and most scientists do, we confuse our conceptual models, based on the images created in our brains, with reality, and become unaware that there even is a hard problem. Awareness is a function of the brain, consciousness is not. We become aware of things by drawing distinctions in what we perceive to be separate from ourselves. Awareness is only possible if there is a real self, capable of drawing the distinction between itself and other things.

Consciousness is that which is experienced directly. Consciousness is aware of its self, and self is experienced as existing “in here”, while objects are conceived of as existing “out there”.  So the primary distinction that gives rise to awareness is the distinction of self from other, and thus consciousness is not awareness, consciousness is that which draws distinctions, and awareness is the experience of those distinctions. Consciousness has to exist prior to awareness. But awareness leads to the desire to express the self’s experiences of reality, which leads to language, mathematics and science. But modern mainstream science, ignoring the hard problem, has left consciousness out of the equations, resulting in a fragmented understanding of reality. The Calculus of Distinctions, a logical reality prior to conventional mathematics, puts consciousness into the equations, and reconnects science with reality. 


Just as consciousness has to exist prior to awareness, a proto-math has to exist prior to applied mathematics. That proto-math is the Calculus of Distinctions, reflecting the underlying logic of consciousness, which is that which experiences inner reality and outer reality. I have written extensively about the Calculus of Distinctions, but few are interested in learning about it because it completely overturns the conventional wisdom of materialistic science.


  1. What is the best material to learn about the Calculus Of Distinctions? Google only finds general ideas and summaries, mostly from you, or reviewers.
    I have "Reality Begins with Consciousness" but in there, the CoD seems rather given instead of explained. Or maybe I just didn't get it?

    1. Yours is a really good question, and I need to have a good answer for it. You are quite right about the way it is presented in RBC, and in most references. Unfortunately, the best material about the Calculus of Distinctions is not very available. There is a pretty good intro in my 1990 book "Infinite Continuity", with aopplications to theoretical physics, but IC is out of print and I haven't had time to revise, update and publish a new edition. An intro and application proving the existence of a non-quantum receptor in human consciousness is available in the 2000 version of my third published book: "Transcendental Physics" which is available on Amazon and from other book handelers. I have a more detailed discussion I can send you as an attachment to an email, but it needs some updating.

      Incidentally, I visited your blog briefly and found it to be very interesting. From my breif scan, it appears to be well written, addressing some important questions about consciousness through the fictional interaction between you as a vertual reality avatar and a male and female of the human species. I like this approach, it is one I've not seen before. It reminds me of material I have read purported to be communications with extra-terrestrial aleins like, e.g. the "Zeta people". Is this approach original with you? I plan to revisit your blog when I have time.

      Ed Close

    2. OK. I'll buy a copy of "Transcendental Physics" from Amazon then, and I'd love to get an email with the more elaborated discussion. I've found "Laws of Form" which is similar, but it seems like just a starting point compared to CoD.

      As for my writings, I'm glad you like it :). Yes, that was an original idea. Unfortunately, that was a moment of inspiration, but then I stop. I'm in the bad habit of starting things but then let ordinary life take over :)

      There is an interesting story (I think) about how I came across your (and Neppe's) work. A couple of years ago I wrote this:

      But when I was almost finished, I started pondering about the etymology of the term "meta-physics", and figured that the idea I was presenting might be better referred to as "para-physics", so I edited the essay. But then I thought that this new term I had just coined-up (or "intuited-up" I might say) must exist already, so I Google for it and found groups and communities related to "para-physics". It was in one such Facebook groups that I saw the RBC announcement.

      Something that happens to me is that each time I decide to start writing about something (like that blog, or the few other essays on ""), I also start to read and research about the topic, and the more I read, the more I realize how much is there to learn, so I usually stop half way (or 1/24-way), with the plan to learn first all there is to learn. But then, I usually never continue because never stop reading more and more on whatever topic I wanted to write about.

      Last year I started again:

      but then I also stop again :( and branched off to learn about all the modern Theories of Knowledge. There is so much more about this than the basic concepts I studied in the Epistemology class back I took in College some 20 years ago.

      (you have my email adress in there)


    3. I can relate. I have had the same experience. The more we learn, the more we realize that we have only scratched the surface. I've started a more detailed discussion of the CoDD on this blog for you and others who have asked where to find a more info about the CoDD.

    4. Fernando, I have just read your article on para-physics. You are very much on the same wavelength as Dr. Neppe and me. Let's stay in touch.

    5. Fantastic! I'll read the new entry today.
      And indeed, I think we are so let's stay in touch.

  2. 'I have written extensively about the Calculus of Distinctions, but few are interested in learning about it because it completely overturns the conventional wisdom of materialistic science.' Yes, Ed, just as few are interested in learning about my mystical-inspired and comprehensive TOE, based on 'Y= X Squared plus One', because it overturns and simplifies just about 'all' so-called conventional wisdom, not only materialistic science - What to do?

    1. All we can do is try, Brian. Eventually the truth will out!


    2. Brian, is that in your blog? I'll read it.
      A good thing about being an autodidact as I am is that we're used to reading just about everything, without fear of getting confused.

      For example, I just started reading this

      which is the sort of thing that has been mostly ignored all this time (that book is more than 100 yro)

    3. Zordial Qulog: All is covered in my website, and my Facebook group sites, Cosmos Coconut Club and Cosmos Rules - According to Brian! I don't conduct a blog.

    4. Zordial Qulog: All is covered in my website, and my Facebook group sites, Cosmos Coconut Club and Cosmos Rules - According to Brian! I don't conduct a blog.

    5. Thank you Brian. I'll look into your site then