On the Necessity of Consciousness for Sophisticated Human Action
Roy F Baumeister, Stephan Lau, Heather M Maranges, Cory J Clark
FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY | FRONTIERS MEDIA SA | Published : 2018
In this essay, we aim to counter and qualify the epiphenomenalist challenge proposed in this special issue on the grounds of empirical and theoretical arguments. The current body of scientific knowledge strongly indicates that conscious thought is a necessary condition for many human behaviors, and therefore, consciousness qualifies as a cause of those behaviors. We review illustrative experimental evidence for the causal power of conscious thought while also acknowledging its natural limitations. We argue that it is implausible that the metabolic costs inherent to conscious processes would have evolved in humans without any adaptive benefits. Moreover, we discuss the relevance of conscious ..View full abstract
Awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
SL was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), number LA 3891/1-1. CC was supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.