'I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.'
Max Planck, physicist (1858-1941) The Observer (January 25th, 1931)

The problem of consciousness has baffled thinkers for centuries.

What is consciousness?

Where does it come from?

What does it do?

Why is it an important subject?

I hope that this website will be of interest to people who are intrigued by consciousness and find that explanations often given of it in terms of the physical world do not capture its essential quality.

The material here is based on an MPhil thesis about the relationship between consciousness and the brain. The thesis presents the position that consciousness does not fit into any materialist description of reality and, although it may be correlated with brain states, it is not created by them. Furthermore, consciousness does not seem able to influence the brain and behaviour.

I have called this position ONE-WAY OCCASIONALISM but it is only a rough-and-ready name. The work to understand consciousness goes on. Trying to get to grips with the true nature, origin and significance of consciousness is a challenge both to philosophy and to everyone who seeks meaning and purpose.

Please feel free to make a comment about any of these ideas. See the bottom of this page for how to do this.

Consciousness is very difficult to define. But in order to explore its nature, origin and effects it is a good idea at least to try to define it. To explore this topic click on DEFINITIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS in the left-hand column.
One way of getting to grips with the nature of consciousness is to see in what ways it is different from physical things. To explore this topic further click on DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE PHYSICAL in the left-hand column

Where does consciousness come from? Is consciousness manufactured or generated by the brain? Many people today believe that this explanation makes the best sense. But does it work? To explore this problem click on THE SOURCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS in the left hand column

Do our conscious experiences cause us to act? In other words do we do actions because of our conscious decisions, our conscious will? To explore this topic click on THE EFFECT OF CONSCIOUSNESS in the left-hand column.

One-way occasionalism is an attempt to make some sense of phenomenon of consciousness. Click on ONE-WAY OCCASIONALISM in left-hand column to find out more about this theory.

If you wish to comment on or to discuss the material on this website, contact Oliver Leech at CONSCIOUSNESSMATTERS