1. Yes. I also did quite a bit of that many years ago. I still try to keep up with it just to see their progress. They have not made any progress since then.
– Colin McGinn, Thomas Nagel, and David Chalmers are philosophers who have realized that consciousness cannot arise in the brain. Chalmers famously coined the term “hard problem in consciousness” (how can matter give rise to mental phenomena).
2. There is a trace of matter that DOES give rise to consciousness, and that is the hadaya vatthu that I mentioned above. That unimaginably small “seat of the mind” (much smaller than an atom in modern science) is created by kammic energy.
– What they call Artificial Intelligence (AI) is just fancy computer programs. As someone said, it is AI without the “I” (intelligence). They can get things done faster, but there will NEVER be a “conscious robot.” For example, how can the feeling of pain or joy arise in a machine? That is the “hard problem of consciousness.”
– That hadaya vatthu also has a finite lifetime. But before it dies, enough kammic energy to generate many more such hadaya vatthu (corresponding to different realms) are created by javana citta that arise in hadaya vatthu. Those can be called “kamma bija” or seeds for future hadaya vatthu
– In the last citta vithi of a hadaya vatthu, one of those kamma seeds is grasped and becomes “active,” and the lifestream continues. Only an Arahant would not grasp any kamma seed. That is how the rebirth process comes to an end.
– That is a very brief description. Abhidhamma describes that in great detail.
3. The problem is that none of those philosophers know that such a description exists. Even if someone told them, I don’t know whether they will be receptive to spending time learning Abhidhamma.
– Abhidhamma is the ultimate theory of the mind.
4. However, one can attain Nibbana without learning Abhidhamma. If the basic concepts of the Four Noble Truths/Paticca Samuppada/Tilakkhana are understood, one can become a Sotapanna and then make further progress. Those three approaches get one to the same understanding.
Finally, I am sorry to hear about your medical condition. You seem to be coping well. I, too, live a simple life.