Consciousness, Biology and Fundamental Physics
Why are we conscious? Why do we experience the taste of almonds or the colour red? What is the experience of choosing between beer and wine, and how do we do it? Why do we think that only organisms with brains can do this, although our brains are based on the same sort of physics as everything else in the universe? The conventional consciousness studies of the last twenty years, wedded to a nineteenth century view of physics and biology, has failed to produce anything of explanatory value. Roger Penrose's hypothesis that consciousness is linked to a fundamental level of the universe is here considered more promising, but may not have responded sufficiently to recent advances in quantum biology and neuroscience. 'Consciousness, Biology and Fundamental Physics' attempts an updating of the original inspiration.
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activity algorithm amino acid amygdala areas argues arise aromatic axon basal ganglia BChl behaviour biological systems black hole brain carbon atoms cells chromophores complex consciousness studies correlated cortical cytoskeleton decoherence delocalised dipoles dorsal stream double bonds electrical electron clouds emotional energy environment existence femtoseconds force freewill fundamental geometry global gamma synchrony Hameroff hydrophobic idea individual neurons input interaction involved ion channels light harvesting looks Malach membrane microtubules molecules neural neuronal assemblies neurons neuroscience neurotransmitters objective reduction orbital orbitofrontal orbitofrontal cortex oscillation particles particular Penrose Penrose’s perception photons photosynthetic physicist picoseconds possible problem processing produce proposed protein quantum coherence quantum entanglement quantum gravity quantum theory quantum vacuum quantum wave random receptors recognition region response role Schrödinger seen sensory signal spacetime spatially spiking spin network stimuli structure subjective experience suggested superpositions synapses temperature thermal equilibrium tryptophan tubulin universe ventral stream wave function collapse