Publication 2876

Pickering J. (2016) Self-Description Alone Will not Account for Qualia. Constructivist Foundations 11(3): 559–561. Fulltext at
Open peer commentary on the article “Consciousness as Self-Description in Differences” by Diana Gasparyan. Upshot: The first part of Gasparyan’s article usefully shows how problems must arise if consciousness is approached as if it were a phenomenon separate from the observer. The second part suggests a change of approach from first- to second-order cybernetics will solve these problems. While this, too, is helpful, it is, in essence, an epistemological device that requires something else in order to engage with the fundamental aspect of consciousness, namely, qualia. This is an ontological shift towards panpsychicism, as found in Whitehead, Peirce and Eastern traditions.


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