This aforementioned explanation), thus one can see why he

This essay will argue against Chalmers’ view that there is a
hard problem of consciousness (that is, that there is an aspect of conscious
experience that resists “standard methods of cognitive science”), by presenting
the opposing argument of materialism (the theory which, in the context of
consciousness, asserts that all conscious processes and phenomena can
be explained as manifestations or
results of matter). I will present the case for materialism by exploring the
relationship between reactions to environmental stimuli (described rightfully
as an easy problem by Chalmers, as it is explainable using scientific methods),
and experiencing environmental stimuli – concluding that all conscious
experience is a reaction to environmental stimuli. Firstly, I will discuss how
an instance of reacting to environmental stimuli and an instance of
experiencing it are both scientifically identical phenomena in that they both have intrinsically functional make-up.  Secondly, I will show that what we call the
overall phenomena of experience is simply an accumulation of reactions to
environmental stimuli and thus can be considered as the net resulting reaction
to the stimuli rather than an occurrence that is independent to them. Hence, I
shall conclude that there is no hard problem of consciousness because conscious
experience is in accordance with materialism (can be explained using scientific
understanding of matter), since conscious experience is equivalent to reactions
to environmental stimuli.

By first looking into the specific scientific processes
involved in reactions to and experiences of environmental stimuli, one can see
that both instances are identical in their fundamental composition. That is not
to say that exactly the same processes take place during both, but that both
constitute of entirely biological structures. For instance, Chalmers describes
what happens biologically when light enters the eye when we look at something
red. In this example, light reflects off a surface and hits the cone and rod
cells in the fovea centralis of the eye, stimulating these photoreceptors to
varying degrees. This is the act of reacting to the environmental stimulus of
the colour – what Chalmers would describe as the easy problem. However,
Chalmers is limited in that he fails to follow through on the rest of this
example. Such a limitation is perhaps to be expected, as he states that even the
science behind this part is not yet explainable (which I have shown to no
longer be the case in the aforementioned explanation), thus one can see why he
would struggle to explore further scientific explanation of the situation. However,
science has progressed to the point where it can explain what happens when we
react to environmental stimuli, and moreover, also what happens when we
experience that stimuli. In this example, the process the brain goes through
when experiencing light and colour, is called retinotopic organization. The process
goes as follows. The membranes contained in the photoreceptors contain visual
pigments that absorb light and undergo chemical changes that trigger an
electrical signal. The signal from the retina is analysed by retinal ganglion
cells, which compare the stimulation of neighbouring cones, and calculate the
colours of the light. Next, the signal travels to the brain where it is divided
into several pathways – like fibre optics branching throughout the cortex -, to
reach the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus, and onwards to the
primary visual cortex. The purpose of such a biology-heavy explanation in a
philosophy paper is to highlight just how extensive scientific progress in this
field is, and how any argument will be undoubtedly flawed if it overlooks such
a crucial part of the issue (as Chalmers’ does). In no part of his argument
does Chalmers give credit to this extensive knowledge obtained by modern
scientists, which I would argue is the only reason he finds the hard problem
hard at all. Indeed, after exploring both the initial reaction of seeing the
colour red and then the experiencing of it, it is evident that both processes
are of the same type – biological responses to the initial stimuli. Hence, the
above explanation concludes, a posteriori, that experiences of environmental
stimuli are just another type of reactions to that environmental stimuli, thus
proving the materialist view of conscious experience and disproving the
argument that there exists a hard problem.  

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