With science in mind

Lynne Baker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
In his Confessions, Augustine lamented, “What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one who asks, I know not.” In this respect, consciousness is like time. If no one asks me what consciousness is, I know. To pay attention to something is to become conscious of it. Indeed, everything with which I can be familiar ­­ from the sound of your footsteps to my own daydreams ­­ can be an object of my consciousness. Yet, if I wish to explain consciousness to one who asks, I know not. I (and, I suspect, we) have little theoretical grip on the nature of consciousness. Not for nothing did Schopenhauer call the problem of consciousness ‘the world knot.’ What, then, is consciousness?
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