The issue, then, is not the supposed sheer inconceivability of phenomenal consciousness being instantiated in physical entities, but rather the issue of how to explain our phenomenal consciousness as physical beings. As Jerry Fodor says in a May 2007 LRB book review,
Why not just say: some things are true about the world because that’s the kind of world it is; there’s nothing more to make of it[?] That sounds defeatist perhaps; but it really isn’t since, quite plausibly, it’s the sort of thing that we will have to say sooner or later whether or not saying it would help with the hard problem.
Typical scientific explanations appeal to natural laws. Some natural laws are explained by appealing to others, but some aren’t; some of them are basic. … Eventually, we get to laws about whatever the smallest things are (or, perhaps, to laws about the fundamental structure of space-time); and there we simply stop. Basic laws can’t be explained; that’s what makes them basic. There isn’t a reason why they hold, they just do. Even if basic physical laws are true of everything, they don’t explain everything; in particular, they don’t explain why, of all the basic laws that there might have been, these are the ones there actually are. … At a minimum, it seems that the various sciences form some sort of hierarchy, with physics (or whatever) at the bottom. …
Maybe, however, there’s something wrong with this view and we’ll finally have to do without it. Maybe the hard problem shows that not all basic laws are laws of physics. Maybe it shows that some of them are laws of emergence. If that’s so, then it’s not true after all that if Y emerges from X there must be something about X in virtue of which Y emerges from it. [My emphasis.]
Piggybacking on Fodor, my point is that maybe we just live in a world in which, to be a material being of such-and-such an emergent composition, entails being a conscious being. I want to stress however that this does not entail a capitulation to physicalism, which I really do think is incompatible with the reality of irreducible subjective experience (ISE). Moreover, insofar as I grant the viability of "materialism" arguendo, I think the reality of ISE entails a serious reconception of "matter," namely as something which includes integral powers proper to ISE.
So, yes––no surprise––I am still urging hylomorphism, but as I have expressed before, hylomorphism is, and should be presented as, much more "materialistic" than it is conventionally depicted. After all, it is call HYLOmorphism, not pure Morphism (à la Platonic or Berkleyan Idealism or, perhaps, Meinongism), and so the integral role of matter cannot be gainsaid in hylomorphism. If there is, say, an objective way-for-a-rock-to-be, explicable in materialist, scientific terms, I admit that I don't see why in principle there cannot also be a-way-it-is for a phenomenally conscious agent to be. After all, "a-way-to-be" is but a loosely unpacked way of saying "form." Why should a rock's being the way it is be the-way-it-is? Despite the naïvéte of crude materialists, that lowly way-of-being is ultimately as inscrutable as the "fundamental" laws which attach (normatively) to its actual-way-of-being" (i.e. its morphé μορφέ). Therefore, a thing's actual existence (i.e. its proper act of being)––even as it is amenable to a rigorously scientific analysis––, does not remove its metaphysical contingency and ontic finality with respect to God qua Disposer of Forms. (By ontic finality I mean that any thing's specific act of being is actualized only with respect to an agent not susceptible to further potentiation; and as God is Actus Purus, He alone is the adequate agent for specific actual ways of being which suffuse the known world.) By extension, even if we should arrive at a fully "materialist" account of my conscious operations qua neurophysiological functions, this 'reduction' compromises neither 1) the formal coherence of my ISE as an irreducibly integrated reality nor 2) my contingency as 'a glorified rock' in the power of God. Indeed, the type of modular complexity which, say, Marvin Minksy invokes to rebut ISE is best construed as the formal dematerialization of our brain's endlessly plastic material potentia. In other words, we don't see blue! because "it's really just blue" but it's really blue because we experience it as really blue.
Wittgenstein was fond of saying that "Everything is what it is and not something else." So, too, ISE is what it is even if it includes non-conscious counterfactual grounding elements. (By counterfactual grounding elements, I [suppose I] just mean the sufficient and nearly-necessary grounds for the existence of ISE.) Indeed, paradoxically, were there only ISE in the cosmos (à la panpsychism), there would not be ISE, since ISE devoid of objects of perception would not be ISE. Indeed, the immanently potentiated objects of ISE exists precisely as objects of ISE, and therefore ISE cannot account for itself in purely phenomenal terms. (In other words, imagine seeing seeing seeing…seeing X! without succumbing to a fatal regress of contentless seeing.) Eventually accounting for how we have ISE would not negate the fact that we have ISE. Naive materialists are, therefore, well ahead of themselves to dream otherwise, and hylomorphists are well behind themselves, as it were, to fear suchwise.