If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.
(Pugh, c. 1938)
I was going to write something about this article that recently appeared in the New Scientist until I discovered that Brain Hacks had already done so. Hayek would have been appalled by what he’d term a logical contradiction – the mind explaining itself. Hayek is acutely aware that self-referentiality leads to dead-ends: the instrument of explanation simultaneously being the object of explanation cannot get us anywhere. Hayek takes the view that a unified theory of consciousness is forever beyond our grasp. See also Colin McGinn on cognitive closure.