I'm one of those folks who sees intelligence as the product of a bunch of neurons talking to each other via electrochemical messages. This is to distinguish myself from those who see intelligence as a product of some sort of woo, separate form the neurons and their interconnects.
Nonetheless, I realize that one can't tell the story of intelligence by discussing individual neurons. One would be hard-pressed to describe intelligence by talking about all the neurons, nor by talking about their interconnects. There's just too many of them to be able to make that jump.
But that doesn't invalidate the concept that it's all just a bunch of neurons.
Time is a dimension that is different from the three (or ten) spatial dimensions, and it has different properties. We also directly perceive time and the three "large" spatial dimensions. Since we also directly perceive consciousness, maybe that is a dimension, too? And somehow neurons interact with that dimension, with some configurations interacting weakly, and others more strongly? Would this neatly answer the dualist/reductionist problem? Can I stop asking questions now?
I think most people who are trying to offer a materialist account of consciousness would reject it.
I always feel like the 'consciousness is just a by-product of sufficient neural complexity' argument is incredibly reductionist. My view is that if consciousness is a possible result of material complexity, that says something about the fundamental nature of matter.
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