Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Wake up, are you conscious?

In my first blog post, I talked about the reality of truth and whether or not it exists. But during our class discussions, I realized that I had been brought onto a different tangent which had led me to more unanswered questions. Frankly speaking, metaphysics is not the easiest topic to understand. In fact, I feel like I am more confused now than I was when we started; but still, I began my research for my new blog post.

After some perusing on the internet, I noticed that my original subject, truth, was occasionally categorized under consciousness, so i began looking more into that. Then, I stumbled upon the website www.closertotruth.com, where there were great series of videos on what philosophers and other knowledge seekers had to say about consciousness. In the series on “What things are conscious?“,  Raymond Kurzweil, an author, inventor, futurist and director of engineering at Google, has some great points to share about this subject.

Kurzweil a well recognized inventor and engineer, with many praises from magazines such as “Forbes. Inc ” and “The Wall Street Journal”, and has received many awards for his achievements.

When asked the question “what things are conscious?”, Kurzweil says, ” …Fundamentally, consciousness is this subjective experience, and only I can experience [it]. I mean, I should only talk about it in first person terms. Now, I’ve been certainly socialized to accept other people’s consciousness, if they appear conscious, which they don’t always; but my own consciousness is really only aware of itself and there’s no real way to measure the conscious experiences of another entity.”

He then continues on about what things are conscious in a deeper sense but it was the quote above that really captured my attention.

Even though Kurzweil is not a philosopher, he is a very well recognized genius and what he said about consciousness was something I found so simple to understand yet confusing at the same time. Since consciousness is something that only someone can really experience themselves, how do I know that other people are actually conscious and that they are not just people who function and act like me, but do not have a sense of self (consciousness)? This question has caught me in a rut and I don’t seem to have anymore that could be added to this post.


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