Surely, Professor Searle, you appeal to the authority of pure snobbery

The following extract is a classic example of assuming exactly what cannot be demonstrated. So you say: “surely, all intelligent people know this” and expect to get away with it.

John Searle on the nature of consciousness:

Interviewer: You also say that consciousness is a physical property, like digestion or fire.

John Searle: Consciousness is a biological property like digestion or photosynthesis. Now why isn’t that screamingly obvious to anybody who’s had any education? And I think the answer is these twin traditions. On the one hand there’s God, the soul and immortality that says it’s really not part of the physical world, and then there is the almost as bad tradition of scientific materialism that says it’s not a part of the physical world. They both make the same mistake, they refuse to take consciousness on its own terms as a biological phenomenon like digestion, or photosynthesis, or mitosis, or meiosis, or any other biological phenomenon.

That consciousness is experienced by physical beings like you and me does not make consciousness physical ( that is, consisting of matter and its motions), anymore than numbers are physical. Numbers can be manipulated, mental operations may be performed upon them, but they are, like the Pythagorean theorem, like the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius – π, not ultimately matter and its motions. And we have not even reached mind yet. We have not even reached consciousness, nor the redness of red, nor the mind that understands what “red” is.

Will the materialists never get it?

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