What Is Consciousness and Can It Ever Be Measured?

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The New York Times weighs in on “the quantifying of consciousness” along with the possible benefits of successfully doing so: for example, to facilitate certain surgical procedures, making them less invasive, or to understand the nature of a class of brain malfunctions like seizures. It seems improbable that consciousness could be “digitized.” The very phenomenon that makes us living beings, which separates life from death (or the inanimate), is usually left to the realm of philosophers and theologians. But such a scientific approach, whether “a dead end” or not, may yield benefits of unforeseen proportions. A possible analogy. Although Einstein’s theories turn the world of physics upside down, Newtonian physics nonetheless takes humankind to the moon and well beyond.

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