The value of consciousness

Neil Levy

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Consciousness, or its lack, is often invoked in debates in applied and normative ethics. Conscious beings are typically held to be significantly more morally valuable than non-conscious, so that establishing whether a being is conscious becomes of critical importance. In this paper, I argue that the supposition that phenomenal consciousness explains the value of our experiences or our lives, and the moral value of beings who are conscious, is less well-grounded than is commonly thought. A great deal of what matters to us and about us can be explained by functional and representational properties that may not be sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. I conclude with some reflections on how these claims might affect debates in ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127 - 138
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

Levy, N. (2014). The value of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21(1-2), 127 - 138.