John Searle - Our Shared Condition: Consciousness

Studying consciousness is notoriously difficult, and until only the last couple of decades, very few intellectuals (apart from philosophers and psychologists) dared to even think about how to try to understand it. But with the rise of new disciplines and technologies, consciousness is starting to become the hot topic among academics. One of the problems, however, is that we don't yet quite have a theory about what consciousness is, and without an answer to that question, it's not always clear what disciplines and methods are most appropriate to use to study it.

In the following TEDTalk presentation, philosopher of mind John Searle (famous among other things for his Chinese room thought experiment) makes the case for studying consciousness, and for his own understanding, not so much of what consciousness is, but of how to approach the question. In the process, he shoots down some of the most popular objections to try to study consciousness scientifically, arguing that regardless of its ultimate ontological status, it's a biological process with multiple levels of description.




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