What is Consciousness?–Getting our Categories Straight and Asking the Right Questions

I know some of you–perhaps many of you–have followed the work of Dr. Robert L. Kuhn on his TV and now Youtube programs “Closer to Truth.” If you have not visited the web site lately, it has been marvelously redesigned and Robert is ever at work with new horizons…see closertotruth.com.  The program looks at the broad categories of Cosmos, Consciousness, and Meaning, drawing upon a wide range of scientific, historical, and philosphical approaches.

I received the following from Robert this week and pass it along with his permission:

My comprehensive review of theories of consciousness, A Landscape of Consciousness: Toward a Taxonomy of Explanations and Implications, derived in part from Closer To Truth, was just published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology — and will appear in print in August.

In the paper, I seek an organizing framework for diverse theories of consciousness and to explore their impact on big questions. My central theses are twofold: (i) understanding consciousness at this point cannot be limited to selected ways of thinking or knowing, but should seek expansive yet rational diversity, and (ii) issues related to consciousness, such as AI consciousness, virtual immortality, meaning/purpose/value, life after death, free will, etc., cannot be understood except in the light of particular theories of consciousness. In addition, I want to present consciousness and its significance to broad scientific and scholarly communities.

The paper has good visibility in scientific circles. Any promotion in other communities via social media and/or personal networks welcome (but not expected).

I know Robert has worked on this harder than anything he has ever produced…and the results are remarkable.  I may have mentioned here before that I have a whole series of interviews with Dr. Kuhn which you can find very conveniently collected here: https://closertotruth.com/contributor/james-tabor/

On an even more personal note, I had Robert as a guest in the LAST university class I taught, capping off my 45 year career, when I “retired” in July 2022. Here is a recording of that class for those interested: