Summer School 2021

The ‘hard’ problem of consciousness


Professor Mark Solms, Chair of Neuropsychology, University of Cape Town

The mind/body problem has been divided into two parts. The ‘easy’ part is to identify the neural correlates of consciousness: What brain processes are active during conscious versus unconscious mental processes? The ‘hard’ part is to explain how these processes cause consciousness: How do the physical events turn into experiences? 

The question will be addressed in two lectures. The first lecture focuses on the neuroscientific and psychological aspects of the problem. It suggests that we have been looking for the neural correlates of consciousness in the wrong part of the brain and that we have been looking at the wrong type of consciousness. The second lecture focuses on the philosophical and mechanistic aspects of the problem. It asks: If we really do understand the causal mechanism of consciousness, can we now engineer it artificially?



  1. Neural correlates of consciousness
  2. Causal mechanisms of consciousness

This course will be offered on the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants will be sent a link.

Date: 28–29 January
Time: 5.00 pm