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How can physics and chemistry account for consciousness?

This past Sunday, Andrew Sullivan neatly summarized what is going on in one corner of the consciousness debate – Alvin Plantinga, Thomas Nagel, Jerry Coyne and Sean Carrol. Writes Nagel:

I say this as someone who cannot imagine believing what he believes. But even those who cannot accept the theist alternative should admit that Plantinga’s criticisms of naturalism are directed at the deepest problem with that view—how it can account for the appearance, through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry, of conscious beings like ourselves, capable of discovering those laws and understanding the universe that they govern. Defenders of naturalism have not ignored this problem, but I believe that so far, even with the aid of evolutionary theory, they have not proposed a credible solution. Perhaps theism and materialist naturalism are not the only alternatives.

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