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When I tried my best, he dismissed it out of hand. Crick had no time for the speculations of psychologists or philosophers - all they do is argue, he said, and never make discoveries. He was convinced that what we need to do is put the hard problem aside and get on with studying the neural correlates of consciousness; that is, measure what is going on inside the brain when a person has a conscious experience. In this light, he looked for the consciousness neurons - the parts in the brain that are active when someone has a conscious experience. He likens the hard problem to an ancient conundrum - the nature of life itself.

Back in the 19th century, biologists were convinced that they would find a special "life force" that breathed life into plants and animals and departed at their death. Of course, no such force was ever found, Crick himself contributing to its demise. The answer turned out to be that when you understand how living things work, you realise they don't need any special force at all.

Could the same be true for consciousness? Pat and Paul Churchland certainly think so, and the pair, who are both professors of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, take a strong line on Chalmers and his hard problem. For them, when we grasp how the brain's visual system processes colour information, the problem of qualia will be solved. The most extreme view, however, is posited by Tufts University professor, Daniel Dennett. In his book Consciousness Explained, he denies the existence of qualia and says that there is no such thing as "consciousness itself".

Dennett believes that if we start from our intuitions about consciousness then we are doomed to failure. For example, he argues, some people may feel as though they have a little conscious self somewhere inside their head, which is the subject of the stream of experiences. He believes that the brain possesses no central controller; no inner screen where the images could appear; and no one inside to experience them.

There is no magic process that somehow turns ordinary nerve activity into conscious experiences. We must, he told me, throw out all of these perfectly natural, but misguided ways of thinking about consciousness. But how? Turning your intuitions inside out is terribly hard, but if Dennett is right then most of the others I spoke to are completely wrong.

Quantum physics will not help one jot, and no one will ever find Crick's "consciousness neurons". I would love to pop into the Tardis, jump forward a few years, and see who turns out to be right. For now at least, consciousness looks set to remain one of our greatest mysteries. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Premium free for 1 month. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.

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Just Eat. National Trust. Premium Articles. Subscription offers. Subscription sign in. Read latest edition. Carolyn Wells June 18, — March 26, was an American writer and poet. Wells had been married to Hadwin Houghton, the heir of the Houghton-Mifflin publishing empire founded by Bernard Houghton. Wells also had an impressive collection of volumes of poetry by others. She bequeathed her collection of Walt Whitman poetry, said to be one of the most important of its kind for its completeness and rarity, to the Library of Congress.

After finishing school she worked as a librarian for the Rahway Library Association. Her first book, At the Sign of the Sphinx , was a collection of charades. After , Wells wrote numerous novels and collections of poetry. Carolyn Wells wrote a total of more than books. During the first ten years of her career, she concentrated on poetry, humor, and children's books. According to her autobiography, The Rest of My Life , she heard That Affair Next Door , one of Anna Katharine Green 's mystery novels, being read aloud and was immediately captivated by the unraveling of the puzzle.

From that point onward she devoted herself to the mystery genre. She was also the first to conduct a brief, in this case annual series devoted to the best short crime fiction of the previous year in the U.


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In addition to books, Wells also wrote for newspapers. Her first known illustrated newspaper work is a two part series titled Animal Alphabet , illustrated by William F. Marriner , which appeared in the Sunday comics section of the New York World. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This literature-related list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it. You can help by adding to it.