I was going to open a new topic, but this one is close enough, and rather large. As a psychology and philosophy major, as well as an avid student of neuroscience, this problem is one I am very aware of. In philosophy, it comes fundamentally down to what is called "the hard problem of conciousness". Although, personally i feel conciousness is a bit loaded, ambigous a term for general use in such a debate. Its lost its meaning more than the observation of a wave collapse has in physics. So lets start instead by using some other terms, simpler and easier to define. "Subjective experience", "Qualia", and "Awareness". These terms a clearer, in the context. Now the hard problem of conciousness, from the assumed physicalist neuroscience point of veiw runs like this. We can describe how information is received, transformed or processed, in some detail, in terms of the brain. We can explain visual perception, in quite great detail, spatial-temporal perception, memory, attention, language, even imagination and reasoning. What we cant explain is why we have "a subjective experience" of these things, when all that is occuring physically, is comparable to an advanced parallel processing robots cpu - the storage, processing, and transfer of information. It really is a huge mystery to psychology, and while there are many theories, like all "emergent" theories of conciousness, their reasoning really sounds more like "magical thinking" than anything coherent. This is subject is also succiently summed, in philosophy, in the thought experiment of the "philosophical zombie". Another might be to consider can a computer be subjectively aware? The problem with the typical thinking, of awareness as "an emergent" property, is that this is more like a convienient placeholder than anything produced by critical reasoning. We have no idea what features of a system might produce such "emergence", nor does that in itself give any real explaination of the phenomena. Its basically, as I said, magical thinking. No arrangement of connected calculators or abacuses, would in the typical physicalists perception produce awareness. Particle level interactions produce constant exchange of information, and transformation, sometimes reasonably complex but we do not consider them aware. Our dna can perform calculations, store and transform data, but we do not consider this aware. Plants (and more so higher ones), store, transfer and process information, but few consider them aware. If we have a robot or computer, that can act like a human, perhaps hold a conversation, or show facial expressions, we do not consider this aware. Us robotics made a "spider" robot using a combination of heuristics and neural style parallel processors, that literally learnt how to walk and navigate its enviroment. Aware? The problems of the physicalist emergent veiw should be obvious to anyone who gives it thought. A coherent emergence theory would require some specific rationale for the type of informational system, as well as a mechanical justification for why that gives rise to a subjective experience. To be actual science, it would also need not just to be a beleif system, but be experimentally verified. Interestingly, it would seem like panpsychism, or panexperientalism is actually the far more elegant solution - everything is aware, all information exchanges are awareness, or experience. Its a fundamental property of the universe, and thus, neatly is indivisible and requires no mechanical explaination. In terms of our particular complexity, and configuration, the intricacy of our particular interactions, informationally, allows for a particularly rich form of this experience, one that is centered internally to some large degree, and connected with "identity" and memory. Of course, while it can be very deftly argued, and in such a way that the very few criticism actually sound quite lame, its hard to prove, in fact probably impossible to prove. I cannot prove the others reading this have a subjective experience, I only know my own. I only guess that they do, based on their behavioural similarity to me (which brings us back to philosophical zombies). However, I cannot stress how much of an unfounded, unproven, and probably illogical assumption this is, on behalf of the brain-mind hypothesis, to place awareness, or subjective experience, as some kind of mystical property, or emergent property of what is well understood to be a highly refined information processing machinary. I guess I am fortunate enough to have studied philosophy, computers, and psychology, as well as given it alot of thought. I would not argue everyone should adopt a panpsychism or panexperiental POV, although to me thats logically elegant, and in fact philosophically makes some sense (can something really be considered to exist independant of any observation ever?). However I would argue for everyone to consider the flaws in logic of various proposed emergent property theories, especially just the general assumption that "its in the brain somewhere". The brain is just a processor and a memory bank. The nerves and brain cells are just like elegant wires. Its electrochemical, its very complex, it uses neural networks, and parallel processing - its far more advanced that a computer, but the concepts are not entirely dissimilar. If you want to describe how subjective awareness can arise or exist in a brain, you should be able to do the same with some theoretically advanced computer. And any such theory that I am aware, involved "magical thinking", lacks logical structure, seems conceptually invalid, and is basically a kind of a priori assumption, which seems transparently emotionally motivated to preserve both a sense of everyday comprehension, and a particular beleif system. In reality the great mysteries of the universe remain unsolved to mainstream thinking - why is there anything, what is the true nature of that everything, what is conciousness and does life or the universe have a "purpose" (well I would phrase it as "impetus" or "imperitive" because purpose requires an object, or output, whereas the universe is self-contained). It might seem convenient to the modern individual to regard all these things solved by modern physics, neuropsychology etc, but really they are not at all. The universe stares at us like an open unknowable black hole horizon, as it ever has. All we have collected, is a bunch of "matters of fact", essentially, surface details, that do not cut into the heart of the questions we really want to answer. And that of course explains our sci-fi obsession with aliens, artifical life, robots, the paranormal as well as with science, physics, spirituality, philosophy, really alot of what we do. We stare across that "veil" of the at least currently unknown and we want in it, to understand ourselves, our place. Okay, back to the topic. Aldous huxleys idea of the brain as a valve, or filter is an interesting tangent, on the topic. It has some considerable blanks, and people interpret it different ways, but its another interesting angle. I personally dont favour it as a solution to the hard problem. It might be less "magical" that the emergent property physicalism suggestion, but it still introduces a load of unknowns. Leave that stuff to mysticism and spirituality, i think, and try and keep at least our immediate experience, in some form of simpler model. TLDR: "Hard problem of conciousness" - "why do we have a subjective experience?" Its a real thing. Major problem, philosophically, logically, and scientifically. Probably harder for neuroscientists and psychologists to address than it is for physicists to address the big bang, dark matter, or quantum gravity, and much less money and effort is being spent on it. Seems quite doubtful to me that any level of brain study will truely reveal the nature of the solution either. We should not assume awareness, or subjective experience, is a product of the informational system of the brain - we have no evidence to suggest thats true, and no logical or structural model where that makes coherent sense. It may be, but we have no model where that idea makes sense, nor any proof that it is true. Ive given it quite some thought, and I think probably the idea of a physical structure giving rise to "subjective experience", on some informational system level, seems at least conceptually and initially, logically incoherent. Make of this mystery what you will, but this particular logical rabbit hole goes pretty deep.