Consciousness as a Natural Kind
Tim Bayne (Monash)

October 6, 2017, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Philosophy & Bioethics Departments, Monash University

E561, Menzies Buiding
Monash University
Clayton 3800



One of the central challenges facing the science of consciousness is that of validating putative measures of consciousness. It has recently been suggested that it might be possible to meet this challenge by treating consciousness as a natural kind, and to validate putative measures of consciousness in the way that putative measures of other natural kinds have been validated. Indeed, the natural kind methodology is so prima facie compelling that it is something of a puzzle as to why it has been neglected by both scientists and philosophers. This paper considers a cluster of objections to the natural kind approach that centre on the idea that the natural kind approach is undermined by features of the concept of consciousness.


Goff, P. 2011.  A priori physicalists get out phenomenal concepts wrong. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 89/2: 191-209.

Shea, N. & Bayne, T. 2010. The vegetative state and the science of consciousness, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 61: 459-84.

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