The problem of ‘hard consciousness’ is a sub-problem of the wider mind/body problem. For David Chalmers, the hard problem is qualia or the qualities of sensed experience[1]. The dualist position on mind/body relations is that although we need bodies and brains to have consciousness, consciousness is not the same as our bodily and brain states[2]. Mental events are of a different order to physical events, however they causally interact. This explanation does not explain how they interact but presumably as matter obeys certain physical laws so the mind obeys different laws pertaining to the realm of mental events[3]. However, there is an opposing simplicity argument against dualism and that argument is based upon the principle of rational methodology known as ‘Ockham’s razor’[4]. This can be expressed as not multiplying entities beyond what is strictly necessary to explain phenomena[5]. Therefore, materialists argue that there is only physical matter and only one class of physical properties and  theorizing that there are two separate substances, as dualists do,  gives no advantage[6]. As a further alternative view, in his Philosophical Investigations (1958) Wittgenstein assesses the ‘unbridgable gulf between consciousness and brain process’[7]. He asks: ‘How does it come about that this does not come into the considerations of our ordinary life?[8]’ He posits that it is not our consciousness that is a strange thing but our attitude towards ourselves that is strange. Whereas our consciousness is normally intentional, philosophical investigations into the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness do not envisage a context for their concepts. Therefore it is only the study of philosophy or being mentally troubled through which one is inclined to see consciousness as a ‘thing’ or to wonder at ‘it’ being connected to matter[9].


[2]Townley, Dr. C., Lecture 14, The Mind Body Problem, in “Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics”, PHI130, Macquarie University 2011

[3] ibid.

[4] Churchland, Paul M. “The ontological problem (the mind-body problem)” in Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind , Churchland, Paul M. , 1988 , p.12

[5] ibid., p.18

[6] ibid.