Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




The challenge to understand consciousness is a centuries-old interdisciplinary research program. The search entails fundamental questions about our nature - the desire to understand who we are has been around for nearly as long as experience itself. It is also one of the most important questions we can ask; meaning itself is predicated on having some sort of conscious experiencer for whom something can matter. Given the magnitude and intractability of explaining the paradox of how consciousness can be at once the most obvious thing in the universe, and also the most inaccessible, the endeavor is a tremendous undertaking. Until somewhat recently, there has been little cross-talk between these disciplines; and in the absence of collaboration, a territorial dispute has emerged. The purpose of this thesis is two-fold: first, to trace a narrative thread across the history of thought by exploring philosophical theories dating back to ancient Greece, through the authoritatively scientific thought of the modem day. The second aim of this project is one of consilience, wherein by starting a dialogue between two approaches, that of science and philosophy, sincere progress can be made. In conclusion, the thesis ends with a provocation: much of our intimate experience is crowdsourced, and we are inescapably social.



Faculty Mentor

Charlie Huenemann