Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Concept Cagematch: Zombies vs Consciousness

The concept of Zombie is fundamental to understanding consciousness. By comparing Zombies to what we know of physics, can we discover anything about consciousness?

If Zombies are possible, then consciousness is purely ineffable, where even the incidence of consciousness is defined without reference to physics. There are two reasons Zombies may be impossible; either consciousness inevitably arises, or consciousness is a fundamental substance. The former, however, reduces to the latter, and in both cases everything is conscious. If everything is conscious, then the other-minds problem prevents consciousness from being accessible to experiment, resulting in essentially the same situation as with possible-Zombies, and we have an unavoidable contradiction.

I would like to clarify what exactly I mean by ‘consciousness,’ because as we can easily see, there’s a lot of potential confusion on what exactly many discussions of consciousness are discussing. There is a feature of my experience that I experience but at present cannot be explained, specifically the existence of that experience itself. When my experience exists I say, “I am conscious.” We can see that the language used to describe it is a bit weird, too, which is probably the source of many mistakes.

This is a problem primarily because consciousness does not appear to do anything. All the things commonly considered the functions of consciousness have been shown to be unnecessary, can be done with a purely mechanistic computer, or both. To attempt to probe this mystery, I analyze the inevitable logical consequences of the concept, “Philosophical Zombie.”

First I will assume that constructing a Zombie is possible.

Zombie World
A Zombie, strictly defined, is a permanently unconscious human being that can perfectly fool observers into believing that the Zombie is conscious.

This means there is no physical test - no physical interaction - that is different between the human and the Zombie, no conversation, creation, or surgery you can do to uncover which is which. This means that, physically speaking, consciousness does not exist. Thus, consciousness must be pure magic - it exists, can discriminate on where and when to occur, and yet will never affect the world. Much like unicorns, leprechauns, and limyin laparlaxian trumpets, which I just made up, never affect the world. (If this is the case, would the other-minds problem be joined by an other-unicorns problem?)

If Zombies are possible, consciousness is purely nonphysical.

Presumably, then, Zombies are impossible?

No Zombies Allowed; Physically and Mentally Incoherent
I will first assume that consciousness isn’t a fundamental physical entity, but arises through some interaction in the brain.

If we construct a pseudo-Zombie, a human specifically missing all components that lead to consciousness, there is some physical thing that the construct cannot do, specifically the physical function of that missing component. For sake of argument, the pseudo-Zombie cannot paint original paintings. By assumption, in this scenario the pseudo-Zombie is indeed unconscious.

Yet, this leads to a contradiction.

For example, while it is true that we can make new images with machines, most of these images are simply random noise from a random number generator. They are not true paintings, they do not have order and cannot be assigned a purpose; the artist clearly didn’t have anything in mind. However, we are closing in on a solution in the form of cellular automata. These simple programs can create breathtakingly complex and beautiful new images. Some can even create entire games. Yet, to assume that these simple scripts are conscious would be to imply that every script is conscious, which would mean that the program that runs my keyboard is conscious. From here it is a small step to prove that everything in conscious, contradicting the assumption that the Zombie is unconscious.

Now, this is only one example. It could be argued that it is deficient in generality. Therefore, I will now generalize it.

First, let me do a small proof of physicalism.

We can see that the numbers we use to count sheep inevitably imply the mathematics that we use to describe the quantum world. This kind of long-range consistency is a feature of consistent mathematical systems, and indeed apart from the rift between General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory, physics is completely unified. Next, quantum particles are affected by gravity; their math does not actually conflict in the real world. The rift is a human misunderstanding, which we will eventually fix.

Another feature of consistent mathematical systems is that every part either necessarily follows from or is implied by every other part. (Except the axioms, as per Godel.) We can see this in action with the success of theoretical physics, especially in Einstein's work.

From this idea we would expect that, for example, one could learn logic applicable to the physical world through studying mathematics.

One of the things that would happen if a non-mathematical object interacted with a mathematical one is that, unless the non-math object temporarily followed a consistent mathematical law, inconsistencies would pop up for the mathematical object, such as divide by zero errors. I don't know exactly what the physical manifestation of a 1/0 error would be, but 'oblivion shockwave' is not hyperbole.

We are physical. One part of physics is mathematical, therefore, every part of physics is mathematical, because we still exist.

Therefore, a Zombie under these assumptions would be every equation that describes a human but one, and the human would be all those plus the equation for consciousness.

Let's use the wave equation for the sake of argument. Again I'm using a specific equation for clarity, but my arguments will apply equally to all possible equations.

Usually, the wave equation is used to discover waves. Given any initial set of equations, if you can derive the wave equation, the equations describe a physical wave. This applies to light, water, air, strings, quantum mechanics, and many other situations. They all start differently, but end up the same. I shall assume that this equation is also conscious. (This would mean that all these things are also conscious, but specifically anything that cannot be worked into a wave equation is not conscious. I’m going to neglect the obvious conclusion that since everything has de Broglie wavelength, everything is conscious.)

Humans have brain waves, and waves are conscious, so humans are conscious.
{ \partial^2 u \over \partial t^2 } = c(u)^2 \nabla^2 u

In English, "The second time derivative of a function (u) is equal to the second space derivative of the function times a constant." (The constant is the wave velocity squared.)

So, which part differentiates this equation from the unconscious equations?

It can't be the constant, the variable, the power operator or the derivative operators, because these are found in an infinite variety of equations. If it is any particular element of the equation, every equation is conscious as an immediate consequence.

Can it be the function, u, itself? The solution to this equation is the sine function. The problem with this is that the sine function can be generalized. For example, a Fourier Transform can turn an arbitrary image into a combination of sine functions. (Your eye performs this exact transform in reverse, turning waveforms into images.) Or, simply set the sine function to a constant. Sin(x,t)=sine(π/2) is a valid solution, and Sin(x,t)=1. (The derivative is 1 is zero, and so the equation becomes 0=(c2)(0). Technically this is a wave of infinite wavelength and zero amplitude.) If you accepted sine as the 'conscious' function then you can simply re-derive everything from it, proving that every equation is conscious.

What I’ve done is I’ve simply set the equation equal to a single value that the equation takes at a single point, which can be applied to any equation. You could demand that sine(x) be at least first order in x. I would merely reply “What about sine(x)=sine(x0.9)?” and bargain down from there. All cutoffs are arbitrary.

Does it also generalize to matrices and other types of functions with more than one output? Since each element is described by a simpler function: yes.

So, can it be the whole arrangement, where no element in particular is conscious, but put all together into the proper incantation, the whole is conscious?

There are two problems with this. First, every brain is different. If only the exact arrangement is conscious, then at most one person is conscious at any given time. This is also preposterous because even the wave equation itself is an ideal; very few actual physical situations correspond exactly to the equation.

Second, if we allow some leeway, how do we know where to stop? If we add new elements;{ \partial^2 u \over \partial t^2 } = c(u)^2 \nabla^2 u +3

When does it stop being conscious? There is no qualitative difference between adding small correcting functions and adding 1020, completely swamping the original function. Thus the cutoff is again arbitrary, and every equation is conscious. For instance, add a small correcting function multiplying everything by 0.9, and then add the equation for a line, y=mx+b. Then, jack the multiplying factor to 10-20. The equation will be completely dominated by the equation for a line, but there will have been no non-arbitrary cutoff. Thus, every equation...

I will later do a case study of this analysis on an actual theory, Integrated Information Theory.

(Eventually I hope to perfect the actual equation for consciousness, which is special, but that is a separate essay.)

The inevitable conclusion is that, if Zombies are in fact logically incoherent, every equation is conscious, and we've redefined consciousness to be basically a synonym for 'existence.' Strong emergence is also and as a result, logically incoherent.

Emergent concepts are not necessary to explain the universe, and do not exist in a strict sense. Flocks don't exist, just the birds. But the birds don't exist, just their molecules, and so on. If the flock cannot be explained in terms of the particles that make it up, it cannot be explained at all and will not occur. Similarly, if consciousness is emergent, it is not necessary to explain a human, and does not exist is the strict sense, and thus isn't physical.

So, if Zombies are possible, then consciousness isn't physical. If Zombies are impossible because consciousness arises through emergence, then everything is conscious, because of the consistent nature of mathematics.

There's a second way of looking at this, which I mention because the mathematical treatment doesn't adequately illustrate the flaws of 'consciousness as epiphenomenon,' because you can look at the math two ways; in one, consciousness actually does stuff, like paint pictures, and in the second, the process that gives rise to painting pictures also gives rise to consciousness. The consequences of the second viewpoint do not follow directly.

To make this absolutely clear, I'm going to restate the definition twice.

"Zombies are impossible because there is some event that cannot occur without consciousness, such as painting original pictures."

"Zombies are impossible because there is some process, such as painting pictures, which cannot occur without also giving rise to consciousness."

Physically speaking these are almost identical; the process of painting is simultaneous to the process of consciousness; if consciousness ends so does the painting. This means we can never properly test for consciousness. In the first case, whatever it is that the Zombie cannot do, can also end in non-Zombies without consciousness ending, meaning consciousness is ineffable as is the case if Zombies are possible. Whatever arbitrary test we can concoct, it is a test of the effects of consciousness, not consciousness itself. In the second, consciousness has no effects per se; it is epiphenomenon, again ineffable.

None of the parts of the proposed Zombie are conscious in isolation; once you divide it up into modules (if that's not enough, fundamental particles) they stop being conscious. This is not a physical division, but rather an abstract one. The states and evolution of the individual particles will not change in this division, their interactions will be conserved virtually. If consciousness is not a fundamental physical thing, then these components cannot be considered conscious. This is analogous to analyzing a single term of the equation that describes the whole. Also analogous would be to consider a single brush stroke of the painting.

No emergent phenomenon can do things that cannot be explained in terms of pre-existing degrees of freedom in the underlying particles. Since our underlying particles do not have consciousness, it is not necessary to invoke consciousness to explain the whole; the painting cannot be anything but the sum of the brush strokes.

(Please don’t confuse the experience of the painting with the painting itself. By adding a conscious mind to a painting, the logical situation becomes very different.)

In fact, we know that every external action a human can take can be mimicked by a machine in isolation. There is no known function that only consciousness can perform. There is no test, not interaction.

Presumably, then, consciousness really is a fundamental physical concept?

Consciousness As Physical Axiom
Either consciousness is made of fundamental physical ‘stuff’ like leptons are, or math really is conscious, and physical things are fundamentally conscious in some way, analogous to spin, which is a property of every particle.

Obviously there must be some mechanism to divide consciousnesses up into discrete packages, unlike the various charge fields which permeate all space, and there's a good candidate, which is the Information Integration Theory or IIT that I mentioned earlier. In this, we measure the information content of an arbitrary set of elements, and compute how integrated the information is, to find the integrated information Φ. A coherent consciousness then is a set of conscious elements that have a maxima of integrated information. A brain, over a timescale of 0.2-3.0 seconds has a high Φ. Several brains in nearby human skulls has even more information but considered together have low integration because the brains are not strongly linked, and thus actually have a lower Φ.

This also gives a putative test of consciousness; the level of Φ. However, we run into the other-minds problem. The only way to assure that Φ corresponds to consciousness is to test for consciousness and see if it correlates to Φ. My brain hurts even writing that contradiction down.

It doesn’t matter which kind of fundamental thing consciousness is. It is subject to the other-minds problem. Which means that it’s impossible to test for. Which means it’s ineffable, exactly as in the Zombies-Possible regime.

And we have a contradiction. (A solution to the other-minds problem would obviously reverse this proof.)

So what are the remaining assumptions?

Consciousness exists.

Consciousness is physical.

There’s only one left to eliminate.

Dualism
Zombies are possible, but humans out-compete them anyway. That is, consciousness exists, is an event with causes and effects, but is not physical.

We build a Zombie. When the Zombie and the human are asleep, there is no test we can run to physically distinguish the two; they are physically identical. We conclude that there is no action the human can take that the Zombie cannot.

However, when we wake the Zombie and the human up and have them compete, perhaps in a painting contest or for mating privileges, the human wins. Consciousness is doing something for the human, but it is doing it nonphysically.

This immediately makes sense; if consciousness has effects, it must be an event, which means it must have causes, which correspond to energy costs. It will therefore be selected against by natural selection, unless there is a compensating upside. Therefore we can fairly safely assume that consciousness gives some benefit to evolutionary fitness, especially considering the huge amount of consciousness a human possesses. However, as explained above in the Zombie-impossible scenario, there is no physical benefit it can give; every possible function, described by any possible equation, can be reliably deployed by a machine. Therefore, consciousness must serve some nonphysical function. (Unless you want to accept that everything has full-on human consciousness, including undiscovered abstract mathematics.)

I suspect that the human will be acting on nonphysical information, which is unavailable to the Zombie. However, since we cannot define consciousness well, I have focused on what it isn't, instead of what it is.

However, as I mentioned in my small proof of physicalism, if the nonphysical consciousness does not interact consistently with physics, it will destroy the universe. Thus, while it would appear that consciousness is not physical, it must have some mathematically consistent interface with physics.

Specifically, there should be a hole in physical causality, which appears in the brain, that is plugged by consciousness. That, however, is the other article.

(Technically speaking, Zombies are still impossible. There is a specific component that uploads and downloads physical information to conscious information. You can just test for it. But! Direct testing is impossible, just as it is impossible to directly test quarks. Quarks are simply the most likely explanation, just as, for my component, consciousness is the most likely explanation.)

20 comments:

Enigman said...

Just a short query on your "if consciousness has effects, it must be an event, which means it must have causes, which correspond to energy costs. It will therefore be selected against by natural selection, unless there is a compensating upside."

I'd've thought that natural selection would only apply within a possible world. So genes can be selected for, but they must all be in the same world, and hence of the same physics and metaphysics and such. But Zombies resembling us and Humans such as us do not exist in the same possible world.

Alrenous said...

But Zombies resembling us and Humans such as us do not exist in the same possible world.

I take issue with this unless you're willing to claim that all life is conscious to a human degree.

At some point in our ancestry there must have been an unconscious animal. It mutated and gained a small modicum of consciousness, at the cost of whatever the cause is.

This mutation did not die. It survived. In the case of humans, it survived spectacularly. Spectacularly like the spectacular size of a blue whale or the spectacular speed of a cheetah.

Thus, I believe there must be some upside that outweighs the energy costs. (I don't necessarily need to make any statement on what that upside is.)

So yes, there does or did exist an organism that is or was more Zombielike than modern Humans, just as there are whales that are smaller than the blue ones.

Enigman said...

But take awareness of pain. We don't like pain, so we act to avoid it. Even animals do, but we can develop quite sophisticated (not to say neurotic) behaviours related to its avoidance.

Now, it could have been that animals reacted to the causes of pain by avoiding them, without there being any awareness of pain. Robots could do that, and at no point in the evolution of robots would it become advantageous for them to feel pain. Indeed, the more systems evolved on the reacting-to-the-causes model, the more irrelevant such feelings would become.

So the point at which awareness of pain arose was presumably quite early. Then systems evolved to work with that awareness. We evolved to find fire painful and gentle warmth pleasant, for example.

Maybe you think otherwise because we associate advanced robots with AI and AI with human intelligence? But human consciousness is based on awareness, on sense; and I don't see how a complex robot could become conscious as a result of its complexity. Otherwise, why should not a galaxy be conscious as a result of its complexity?

Alrenous said...

Maybe you think otherwise

I...uh...don't think otherwise? Your points don't appear to conflict with what I'm trying to say.

Otherwise, why should not a galaxy be conscious as a result of its complexity?

IIT shows one possibility. The information in the brain is very highly integrated, while the information of a galaxy is not.

This however has, as I analyze, the problem of recursive definition. If true, consciousness is non-physical by definition, because it doesn't do anything.

Michael said...

I kinda lost you after the first equation so not sure if this is a valid criticism but here it is anyway:

Therefore, a Zombie under these assumptions would be every equation that describes a human but one, and the human would be all those plus the equation for consciousness

Just like your example of the art it still seems to assume that consciousness is a discrete thing that can easily be isolated. Even from a biological perspective this seems unlikely since evolution hacks things together, usually tying new features to old features etc. Especially for consciousness which lets you be conscious of different processes in your own brain. It may be as hard to isolate it as it is to go to a neural network that recognises the digits 0-9 and make it only recognise 1-8 by ONLY removing certain wires. You might think "there has to be a set of wires responsible for the network recognising the 9" but this isn't true.

Does this make sense at all?

Alrenous said...

It does make sense and I think I understand the exact objections you raise.

Luckily they don't apply to this proof. It's hard for me to put into English why, but you can read my latest post (which reminds me...it should be linked in this post) for a full accounting of how consciousness is both discrete and completely not-discrete.

Attempt at English:
It's not like removing a wire to recognize only 1-8, because the lack of consciousness doesn't have to be only consciousness. If I have to remove recognition of all numbers to remove consciousness, then so be it.

Attempt 2; we can see that if the brain is a very complex equation, (physically, it is exactly described by a very complicated equation) then there must be some term you can remove from the equation and it stops describing consciousness. Having found this term, you can remove the thing it describes and the brain will remain conscious.

By elimination, it appears so far that we can remove basically every term without it stopping consciousness.

That is, even if we try to remove a wire, we can't get it to stop recognizing 9 without completely shutting down the whole thing.

Alrenous said...

Should say "the brain won't remain conscious," if you remove the thing that term describes.

Genius said...

Re your proof of physical ism -
1) The dualist would presumably argue that consciousness is beyond waves and beyond normal rules of mathematics so if they contradict its just that maths doesn't apply. that is a big call but it seems "possible" at least to philosophers.
2) they would argue it is all the variables together that causes consciousness and that IN THIS UNIVERSE - that happens to occur such that humans are pretty much universally conscious but tables are not. (again admittedly unsubstantiated)

These are 'intuitive' facts taken on faith I guess.

"Second, if we allow some leeway, how do we know where to stop?"

Most dualist's don't seem to worry about that (they may even consider it impossible to know). It seems to be largely a debate between dualism and physical ism not the nature of dualism. the less well defined dualism is the better for it.

"we can fairly safely assume that consciousness gives some benefit to evolutionary fitness"

vs the other options that mutation has presented us with but not vs those options that evolution has not presented us with. There is a danger of overestimating the intelligence of evolution.

Michael said...

By elimination, it appears so far that we can remove basically every term without it stopping consciousness.

That is, even if we try to remove a wire, we can't get it to stop recognizing 9 without completely shutting down the whole thing.


I think these 2 paragraphs are at odds. In my analogy the 9 represents consciousness and 1-8 represent other things. I was arguing as per the 2nd paragraph above that you can't remove it discreetly without compromising the other functions. Your post (and the 1st paragraph above) seem to be arguing that you can.

Even then, I'm not sure how the question of whether or not you can remove just consciousness has a bearing on consciousness as a physical vs nonphysical process

Alrenous said...

Re your proof of physical ism

1) I am a dualist. The point of the proof is that physicalism is very true with respect to physics.

I have 3.5 years of university physics. I went there specifically to answer this question, and it did. (The reason I don't have 4 years is that A) one of the profs is completely incompatible with me and B) I was finished.)

2) I don't quite understand your point. I thought I already addressed the fact that the total form argument is flawed. If the variables do it together, then I can tweak a single variable somewhere slightly, which obviously won't break consciousness...but then I can tweak it drastically, with no non-arbitrary difference between the two situations.

Also, here I'm assuming monism. The dualist argument is set aside for the moment.

but not vs those options that evolution has not presented us with. There is a danger of overestimating the intelligence of evolution.

Which is why I say 'fairly safely assume' and not something stronger.

Alrenous said...

Michael,

I was arguing as per the 2nd paragraph above that you can't remove it discreetly without compromising the other functions.

Yeah, I made a mistake. Oops. (I did say I was going to suck at writing it down...)

I think my argument should have gone something like this:

I'm not sure how the question of whether or not you can remove just consciousness has a bearing on consciousness as a physical vs nonphysical process

If you cannot amputate consciousness specifically then there's two possibilities.

One, it is theoretically impossible to have a brain that works without being conscious.

TWo, our brain's wiring just happens to assume that it is going to be conscious, so if you remove consciousness the wiring gets borked.

The second reduced to the opposite of the first.

For the first, if consciousness is just a function of complexity, then it is emergent. However, complexity is not real in the mereological nihilist sense. That is, a brain considered together is highly complex and therefore conscious, but a neuron considered alone is not complex and therefore unconscious.

For consciousness to be physically causal, not simply an epiphenomenon, (in other words, to exist physically) this leads to a contradiction. The neuron's actions are not conscious, yet somehow they add up to a conscious action.

The only way for this to occur is for the neuron to arbitrarily 'know' that it's supposed to act as if it's in the arbitrary designation 'brain,' and therefore show different properties in vivo so to speak than the physics would lead you to believe. And thus, contradiction. Strong emergence inherently presupposes consciousness.

As expected, the second means that we could totally remove the consciousness module and splice the edges together, and all the brain functions would still work. This is perfectly coherent, physically, and makes no assumptions about what that module actually does.

I propose a putative fundamental unit of the consciousness module in my latest article on this site.

Genius said...

1) OK sorry then..
sounds like you've designed dualism out of physicalism. Physicalists would have no issue with that (in principle) I would have thought.

That being said, I don't think you can properly eliminate determinism from any system and even if you could it would be a huge waste of resources. (and everything is naturally a bit 'indeterministic' due to quantum mechanics)

2) I cant really argue this very well because I don't believe it - but

does having no non-arbitrary difference matter? I might term planck's constant to be arbitrary - or the critical mass of pure uranium to be arbitrary - so?

Genius said...

hmm I've got a killer cold so excuse me if I'm a bit vague.

> The only way for this to occur is for the neuron to arbitrarily 'know' that it's supposed to act as if it's in the arbitrary designation 'brain,'

surely its the pattern that is conscious not the atoms. If I replaced the entire strata on which I am built with something entirely different I would still be the same if everything interrelated exactly like it did before.

So consciousness is then the equation that describes all the inter reactions. So if you use that to delete one of my thoughts you delete a section of my consciousness - after you have deleted every one of my thoughts I'm a vegetable unless I can recreate them.

Alrenous said...

The critical mass of uranium is anything but arbitrary. It's the exact point at which more neutrons hit other nuclei than escape. (Note that being mistaken is different than lying. This would be an example of a missing 'almost' type situation - there is no explicit certainty data.)

Any situation that increases the capture likelihood will decrease the critical mass. (I believe high pressure does exactly this. Note included certainty data.)

Planck's constant is a consequence of the No Infinities Principle; because there cannot be arbitrarily small differences in energies (infinitesimals) there must be some cutoff. In each case what designates the cutoff is different, and yes it is a bit arbitrary, but it must exist.

That being said, I don't think you can properly eliminate determinism from any system

I can eliminate physical determinism. But yes, the exact nature of consciousness vis a vis determinism is unknown, but it's likely highly deterministic.

--

Re consciousness and emergence.

The relationships between the atoms is encoded in the atomic properties. If a particular interaction is conscious in the brain, it will be conscious everywhere.

Since as far as we know the atoms in the brain just do regular things (excluding for the moment my invention of mind nodes) there's no special interaction in the brain with which to isolate consciousness to the brain.

And again, these interactions are defined by very ordinary equations with very ordinary elements. There's no reason to believe that these equations and what they describe are conscious but every other equation isn't.

Note my phraseology; there is no reason. As in, it's not reasonable. Not; someone can't come up with some random-ass reason.

Genius said...

I'm saying I see no reason why they would not be conscious everywhere. I don't see that requiring in any sense dualism or randomness etc.

Alrenous said...

So everything is conscious?

Assuming consciousness does something, it would be doing that thing everywhere. However, apart from the brain, we can completely describe the world without it. (As far as we know.)

But if consciousness does nothing, again assuming monism, we have a contradiction.

Genius said...

Wooops...
and that other equations are also conscious. The difference being that there is no meaningful first person for most of these examples - but there is for a human because our equations are of that nature.

Genius said...

Having table consciousness is much less interesting (first and third person) than having human consciousness or galaxy consciousness because humans have all those feedback loops and the results of small calculations in our brains result in significant and complex differences in our actions.

Genius said...

I'm not sure exactly what in the brain we can't explain that we can explain in other things.

Alrenous said...

The difference being that there is no meaningful first person for most of these examples

If you would like to study how I think, read what's in the brackets. I have since changed my mind. The new mind is below the brackets.

--
(This is a metaphysical position. To take an example, we don't know which term of the equations describes first-personness.

While this may be solved by extra data, I think it runs up against the arguments in my post about how if one equation is first-personness, every equation is.)
--

Consciousness is first-personness. If tables lack it, they lack consciousness.

The problem of a first-person perspective and how it causally relates to physics is the whole problem I'm trying to examine here.

humans have all those feedback loops and the results of small calculations in our brains result in significant and complex differences in our actions.

So consciousness has to do something to affect these feedback loops. The only way for consciousness to do something without leading to a contradiction is dualism.

I'm not sure exactly what in the brain we can't explain that we can explain in other things.

Other than consciousness, subjectivity, itself? Nothing.