What is Consciousness? This series aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best videos, podcasts, and articles from across the internet and allowing you to choose the type of content that best suits your learning style. Simply choose one of following links to get started:
If you want a comprehensive overview of the idea of consciousness:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Consciousness. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 19,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of consciousness:
“Perhaps no aspect of mind is more familiar or more puzzling than consciousness and our conscious experience of self and world. The problem of consciousness is arguably the central issue in current theorizing about the mind. Despite the lack of any agreed upon theory of consciousness, there is a widespread, if less than universal, consensus that an adequate account of mind requires a clear understanding of it and its place in nature. We need to understand both what consciousness is and how it relates to other, nonconscious, aspects of reality.
Questions about the nature of conscious awareness have likely been asked for as long as there have been humans. Neolithic burial practices appear to express spiritual beliefs and provide early evidence for at least minimally reflective thought about the nature of human consciousness. Preliterate cultures have similarly been found invariably to embrace some form of spiritual or at least animist view that indicates a degree of reflection about the nature of conscious awareness.
Nonetheless, some have argued that consciousness as we know it today is a relatively recent historical development that arose sometime after the Homeric era. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
If you’d like to get more philosophy in your life, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or enter your email below to get a quote/passage from a classic work of philosophy delivered to your inbox each day. They include key passages from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and many more. Each passage is paired with a link to a beginner friendly article, video, or podcast, so you can easily learn more about that day’s idea. The goal is to make it easier for everyone to get a little bit more philosophy into their life.