There`s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.
Within psychology and neuroscience, some new and rigorous experimental paradigms for studying consciousness have helped it begin to overcome the stigma that has been attached to the topic for most of this century.
I never expected this to catch on in the way it did! Of course similar observations have been made by any number of people, and the distinction is obvious to anyone who thinks about the subject a little.
Even when I was studying mathematics, physics, and computer science, it always seemed that the problem of consciousness was about the most interesting problem out there for science to come to grips with.
Sense data are much more controversial than qualia, because they are associated with a controversial theory of perception - that one perceives the world by perceiving one`s sense-data, or something like that.
People have managed to avert their eyes and hope for the best.
It probably helps that my background is in the sciences and I can speak the scientists` language.
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a "neural correlate of consciousness"?
Actually, I think most people accept the existence of qualia.
Things are still in early stages, but one can imagine that as we build up and systematize our theories of these associations, and try to boil them down to their core, the result might point us toward the sort of fundamental principles I advocate.
I think that consciousness has always been the most important topic in the philosophy of mind, and one of the most important topics in cognitive science as a whole, but it had been surprisingly neglected in recent years.
Actually, I think my view is compatible with much of the work going on now in neuroscience and psychology, where people are studying the relationship of consciousness to neural and cognitive processes without really trying to reduce it to those processes.
Although I`m Australian, I find myself much more in sympathy with the Austrian version!
Here, the broader issues are already familiar, and discussion has focused at a more sophisticated and detailed level. Within the philosophy of mind, the problem of consciousness is no big news.
I argue that neuroscience alone isn`t enough to explain consciousness, but I think it will be a major part of an eventual theory.
Anyway, there is a lot of really interesting work going on in the neuroscience and psychology of consciousness, and I would love to see philosophers become more closely involved with this.