Single Idea 3466

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism]

Full Idea

We can't define "consciousness" by necessary and sufficient conditions, or by the Aristotelian method of genus and differentia.


Aristotle places a thing in a class, then identifies what distinguishes it from other members of the class

Gist of Idea

Consciousness seems indefinable by conditions or categories


John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 4.I)

Book Reference

Searle,John R.: 'The Rediscovery of the Mind' [MIT 1999], p.83

A Reaction

We may not be able to 'define' it, but we can 'characterise' it. The third approach to definition is a catalogue of essential properties, which might tail off rather vaguely.