Journal article

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

Abstract

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 ..

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Grants

Awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Funding Acknowledgements

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.