Prof. Mark Solms on philosophical clarity (on Patreon early-access now)

Professor Mark Solms discusses the importance of philosophical clarity in approaching complex questions like consciousness with a fresh perspective, free from unnecessary complexities and jargon. He references David Chalmers’ distinction between the hard and easy problems of consciousness to highlight the challenges and implications of grappling with the nature of subjective experience within philosophical inquiry.

In the video, Professor Mark Solms discusses the concept of philosophical clarity in relation to amateurism. He suggests that clarity in understanding philosophical questions can come from approaching them with a fresh perspective, free from the complexities and jargon that can sometimes obscure the underlying issues. Solms emphasizes the importance of reading texts and mastering them to achieve clarity, which he believes brings a simplicity to the discussion. However, he also acknowledges that this simplicity may not always capture the full depth and complexity of the subject matter, hinting at a potential limitation of focusing solely on the simple aspects of philosophical debates.

Solms then delves into the work of David Chalmers, particularly his paper “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness” where he introduced the distinction between the hard problem and the easy problem of consciousness. He highlights that there are two key aspects to Chalmers’ argument, which have become central to discussions around consciousness and subjective experience. By referencing Chalmers’ framework, Solms sets the stage for a deeper exploration of the complexities involved in understanding consciousness and the challenges it presents to traditional philosophical approaches.

The discussion touches upon the broader implications of Chalmers’ distinction between the hard and easy problems of consciousness, suggesting that it raises fundamental questions about the nature of subjective experience and the limits of scientific inquiry in understanding consciousness. Solms’ insights shed light on the ongoing debate within the philosophical community regarding the nature of consciousness and the various approaches taken to grapple with its complexities. By framing Chalmers’ work within the context of philosophical clarity and the challenges of grappling with intricate philosophical problems, Solms provides a nuanced perspective on the subject.

Overall, the video offers a thought-provoking discussion on the complexities of philosophical inquiry, particularly in relation to consciousness and subjective experience. Solms’ emphasis on clarity as a product of amateurism and the need to balance simplicity with a deeper understanding of the issues at stake provides valuable insights into the challenges faced by philosophers in tackling complex questions. The video serves as a springboard for further exploration of these philosophical topics and encourages viewers to engage with the nuances of the debate surrounding consciousness and the nature of subjective experience.