Searle’s Theory of ConsciousnessJune 27, 2021
Searle became interested in the theory of consciousness after his work on the concept of intentionality and artistic intelligence. Searle saw himself in the tradition of “Naturalism” and claimed that the concept of consciousness should be studied as a fairly normal and biological phenomenon.
Searle, who is also a harsh critic of “reductionism” (simplification), has stated that personal experiences can never be conveyed through natural scientific descriptions. Because of these naturalistic beliefs, Searle wanted to leave the dualistic philosophers who see consciousness as an abstract phenomenon. Searle’s inclination towards this simplification also forbade the definition of a mental state with neural processes.
Searle wanted to get rid of this apparent dilemma by stating that the biological state affects the mental state. The interplay of the soul and the brain is a typical element of the dilemma theory. René Descartes also claimed that the biological process existing in a certain part of the brain (the pineal gland) also affects the psyche. Searle isolated himself from such theories and cited another form of consciousness as the cause. Consciousness is a superior feature and an intangible entity in a complex biological system.
With such explanations, Searle proves to be a representative of the consciousness focus/attraction theory. The case that it promises to exploit the problems of dualism and physicalism is very tempting. Despite this appeal, there is also a backlash against Searle’s opposition to simplification of “biological naturalism.” According to Searle, when consciousness is not a problem-free, biological event, it becomes incomprehensible, like consciousness with a subjective component that cannot be resolved through biology.