Degrees of Consciousness

Noûs 57 (3):553-575 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Is a human more conscious than an octopus? In the science of consciousness, it’s oftentimes assumed that some creatures (or mental states) are more conscious than others. But in recent years, a number of philosophers have argued that the notion of degrees of consciousness is conceptually confused. This paper (1) argues that the most prominent objections to degrees of consciousness are unsustainable, (2) examines the semantics of ‘more conscious than’ expressions, (3) develops an analysis of what it is for a degreed property to count as degrees of consciousness, and (4) applies the analysis to various theories of consciousness. I argue that whether consciousness comes in degrees ultimately depends on which theory of consciousness turns out to be correct. But I also argue that most theories of consciousness entail that consciousness comes in degrees.

Similar books and articles

Does sentience come in degrees?Andrew Y. Lee - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (20).
Are There Degreess of Self-Consciousness?R. Milliere - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (3-4):252-282.
Consciousness and self-consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):182-205.
Locke on Consciousness and What it is About.Vili Lähteenmäki - 2011 - Studia Leibnitiana 43 (2):160-178.
Machine consciousness: Plausible idea or semantic distortion?William Y. Adams - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (9):46-56.
Is 'consciousness' ambiguous?Michael V. Antony - 2001 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (2):19-44.
Shades of consciousness.Roderic A. Girle - 1996 - Minds and Machines 6 (2):143-57.
What if phenomenal consciousness admits of degrees?Robert Van Gulick - 2007 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (5-6):528-529.
A question about consciousness.Georges Rey - 1986 - In Herbert R. Otto & James A. Tuedio (eds.), Perspectives on Mind. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Self-consciousness and intersubjectivity.Richard Dien Winfield - 2006 - Review of Metaphysics 59 (4):757-779.
Consciousness-based education: a foundation for teaching and learning in the academic disciplines.Dara Llewellyn & Craig Pearson (eds.) - 2011 - Fairfield, Iowa 52557: Consciousness-Based Books, Maharishi University of Management.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-03-05

Downloads
1,675 (#5,177)

6 months
610 (#1,668)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Y. Lee
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

Multidimensional Adjectives.Justin D’Ambrosio & Brian Hedden - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
Mental Strength: A Theory of Experience Intensity.Jorge Morales - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):1-21.
Health, Agency, and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Dissertation, The University of Sydney

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Consciousness and Experience.William G. Lycan - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
To Be F Is To Be G.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134.
The Epistemic Role of Consciousness.Declan Smithies - 2019 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

View all 63 references / Add more references