Consciousness is humanity’s most primary and fundamental experience yet it is also its most elusive. Just what is consciousness? This question has plagued history’s greatest philosophers and scientists. Subsequently this has produced the most polarised views that include dualism and the soul (that mind and brain are distinct) to the most reductive elements of naturalistic materialism where some even argue that what we experience as consciousness is merely an illusion that arises from modal brain states.
Rosa Cao is Associate Professor of philosophy at Stanford University. She specialises in the intersection of philosophy of mind, neuroscience and cognitive science.