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  “Mysterianism”?

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   Don’t run to the Oxford for answers. It hasn’t landed there yet. For this post and the next one we’ll settle for Wikipedia.

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And our comments beyond the DOOR for more.

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   New mysterianism—or commonly just mysterianism—is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness cannot be resolved by humans. The unresolvable problem is how to explain the existence of qualia (individual instances of subjective, conscious experience). In terms of the various schools of philosophy of mind, mysterianism is a form of nonreductive physicalism. Some “mysterians” state their case uncompromisingly (Colin McGinn has said that consciousness is “a mystery that human intelligence will never unravel”); others believe merely that consciousness is not within the grasp of present human understanding, but may be comprehensible to future advances of science and technology.

   Owen Flanagan noted in his 1991 book Science of the Mind that some modern thinkers have suggested that consciousness may never be completely explained. Flanagan called them “the new mysterians” after the rock group Question Mark and the Mysterians. “But the new mysterianism is a postmodern position designed to drive a railroad spike through the heart of scientism.” The term “new mysterianism” has been extended by some writers to encompass the wider philosophical position that humans do not have the intellectual ability to solve (or comprehend the answers to) many hard problems, not just the problem of consciousness, at a scientific level. This position is also known as anti-constructive naturalism.

   According to Flanagan, “The ‘old mysterians’ were dualists who thought that consciousness cannot be understood scientifically because it operates according to nonnatural principles and possesses nonnatural properties.” Apparently, some apply the terms to thinkers throughout history who suggested some aspect of consciousness may not be knowable or discoverable, including Gottfried Leibniz, Samuel Johnson, and Thomas Huxley. Thomas Huxley wrote, “[H]ow it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the Djinn, when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.”

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  Wikipedia is largely raw data…and we haven’t gone to the trouble of validating any of this. But the names, commentary, and connections here may be helpful in your taking this further. The “words” and ideas suggested are worth thinking about, adozenseconds declares… We’ve messed with some of the coloring and boldface.