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Discussion 10 to Talk Back 64
Time to end the consciousness discussion

by JT

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I think that as the discussion on consciousness seems to be largely definitional, it is reasonable to close the book on it. The issue is not going to be resolved further. (Other issues arising from Talk Back 64 are still open for discussion.)

However, I will take the opportunity to put in my own two cents worth.

A while back, someone engaged me in correspondence about the possibility of consciousness in trees, and how would we know. It was ultimately a fruitless discussion, but at least the discussion involved something we consider to have life.

I conceded the point that there may be elements of consciousness beyond the elements of human consciousness, elements of which we are unaware. Perhaps we can consider there is a meta-consciousness which includes all elements of consciousness, and human consciousness is a subset of meta-consciousness. (Draw a Venn diagram - a circle in a circle.) Consider an alien form of being which incorporates some of the elements which we do not have. (Draw another circle in your Venn diagram intersecting with the human circle.)

Is it possible that the intersection of human and alien consciousness is the null set? I doubt it extremely. I think there would have to be some common core elements, and we would be able to recognize consciousness in another conscious being.