Is there a line between unconscious and conscious beings?

Is there a line between unconscious and conscious beings?

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Is there a line between unconscious and conscious beings?

The consciousness meter is a splendid example of begging the question. Scientists cannot build a consciousness meter until they reach agreement on what physical conditions are necessary and sufficient to produce consciousness. But scientists cannot reach agreement on those conditions unless they have a consciousness meter, a means of solving the solipsism problem.

As long as we can’t solve the solipsism problem, we will favor theories of consciousness for subjective reasons. You are big-hearted, so you grant consciousness to spiders, jellyfish, sexbots, dark energy and thermostats. (According to integrated information theory, it might feel like something to be a nuclear warhead!) I am a snooty tight-ass, so I restrict consciousness to humans, primates and a few especially clever birds, like crows. Your Consciousness Club is capacious, mine vanishingly small.


  1. Do any serious thinkers believe solipsism is a problem? At that point you just have to walk away from the debate.

  2. Can we get a sentience meter while we’re at it?

  3. fil smyth yea, sentience is the real hard problem. I suspect when most people use the word consciousness they mean self-awareness, but getting self-awareness from sentience is not hard. It’s getting sentience in the first place.

  4. You Mean #Twitter and #FaceBook Folks are Unconscious … Typically Must be True …

    Thanks Gideon Rosenblatt

  5. …Did I mean sapience meter? Regardless of which word is used, it’s evident that there are a lot of people out there — perhaps the majority — who are incapable of critical thought, pretty much going through their whole lives merely reacting to things and not actually forming their own opinions.

    My cat is conscious, and has feelings. When I hold her in front of a mirror, she doesn’t think there’s another me on the other side of the glass holding another cat. But she can’t hold a conversation about vehicle design or global guaranteed income.

    And neither can my wife.

  6. Discussions of “consciousness” are too often similar to those about the nature of phlogiston, and wondering where, precisely, “dancing” is to be found in the legs.

  7. Sam Post

    But we might be no more qualified to answer it than jellyfish.

  8. It’s like the Supreme Court said about porn: you know it when you see it.

  9. I have speculated that there’s a connection between the human conscious and unconscious mind. Example : my subconscious mind gives me an Aura ( precercer to a siezure ) when an input from my conscious mind fources me to face a repressed feeling that is logically unsupportable. Such as holding the world responsible for me doing bad academically – this thought is in conflict w / the msg. coming in threw the conscious mind. I should read before I comment, this has nothing to do with an organisms degree of consciousness – sorry

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