Sharpening the hard problem (pt. 1)

Say you give a bunch of brain scans, record what lights up, and then ask the person to describe what they were perceiving at the time; your subjects all respond that they clearly perceived that they were not limited to their body, that they would survive death, and that time itself – to say nothing of our time ending – is an illusion. The experiment has actually been done by Andrew Newberg, and could be repeated from multiple evidence streams (say, from nuns doing centering prayer, shamans taking DMT, Buddhists meditating, etc.)  We could label the brain scan something like “brain activity where brain perceives the non-necessity of brain activity for thought”. In this case, the “qualia” problem is made sharper since the qualia in question are asserting a real separation from observable reality. Note that we don’t need to claim that the particular brain state in question is actually separate, but only that it perceives that neither that state nor any other is necessary. 

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