The so called “Hard Problem of Consciousness” has been challenging philosophers and scientists alike since Australian Philosopher David Chalmers first used the term in 1995 ( and in different forms well before that) Indeed Tom Stoppard who loves to weave mathematical and scientific themes into his works wrote a play about it. The problem is about trying to explain the relationship between physical processes in the brain, which we might be able to objectively describe, and our conscious experience which seems very subjective. Much is being written about the problem and indeed consciousness in general at the moment by Anil Seth “Being You”, Chalmers himself “Reality +” and Nicholas Humphrey “Sentience The Invention of Consciousness. “

Members of the Year 10 began their exploration of this topic by looking at the famous example of the image of the dress, which appears to be silver and gold to some and blue and black to others. How can this be if there is only one dress, no issues with the observes colour reception or any other obvious circumstances affecting some viewers and not others. Mr Cavendish and 2 other students were the only ones to see Silver and Gold. A further example was explored where two squares which appear to be very different shades (one light one dark) are revealed to be identical.

Leaving that question hanging in the air, the students then went back in time to the 17th Century French Philosopher and Mathematician Renee Descartes and his idea of dualism. What has this to do with the Hard Problem? Further exploration will occur in a later session.