Is conciousness a chemical process? No, it isn’t.
Not exclusively anyway. There are some contradictions inherent in a purely physical view of consciousness that get swept under the metaphysical carpet.If the mind was a machine limited to its apparent physical space within a brain how would it be able to model itself within that limited system? That is, it would have to be able to hold an image of how it works that is effectively the same thing as the brain itself within itself, and observe it at the same time. That would be an accurate description of actual “thought”. That would be saying that it can hold more information than it could contain if it were purely a physical object.
If the brain was purely the matter within its physical space that must mean that all the sensory input it recieved was an image within itself…so all the possible information that a brain could be aware of would be stored within itself. The appearance of computers ,planets, star systems etc are all modelled within the physical brain. For these models to appear real (the basis of empirical science)they have to actually work…if you analyse a microchip or microbe with an electron microscope that whole process is imaged within the brain of the observer according to a purely physical brain model. So, even if the observer does not know how these things work or even what they are these devices appear to hold a functioning existence reproduced within their mind to the finest possible detail.
This suggests that part of the awareness or intelligence or thought of an entity considering its surroundings is contained within its surroundings, since its surroundings are inescapeably bound up with its own mind. The perceptual trick which causes confusion is that sensory input appears to describe an external reality deemed to be different in nature to the substance of the observers mind.
The main contradiction of the “physical” brain model is that its sensory input appears to describe a physical material external world, but at the same time following this logic the external world including the observer’s self image is located within a few cubic inches of brain. So much for detached scientific observation.
What appear to be physical systems that “think” are probably a by-product of consciousness that actually limit awareness. Sure the cross between butchery and alchemy that is neuroscience can throw a few switches and watch the lights flicker a bit, but give all the monkeys in the world all the typewriters and they’ll never come up with Shakespeare.