Conscious objector

December 20, 2002

Why did Susan Greenfield agree to review David Lodge's Consciousness and the Novel when she is self-confessedly not a literary expert ("Minds meet on a two-way street", THES, December 6)?

Greenfield's position - scientific - is the ultimate Cartesian dualism: there is an objective, material reality "out there" and a subjective personal realm "in here". The personal realm must somehow be driven from material reality by electro-chemical processes. Consciousness is therefore material. But she also admits a "babbling transubstantiation into the wine of subjective experience". If consciousness is a higher form of reality than the experience feeding it, the process cannot be logically described as a mechanism.

Would not science be wise to abandon the pretension of investigating a physical or physiological basis for consciousness?

Nigel Probert

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