This Strawson piece just appeared in the NY Times.
It’s a position that I found attractive long ago. FWIW, I preferred Strawson’s father as a philosopher but I give the son some credit for consistently pushing this position for years. (IIRC, correctly, he also has no sympathy for compatibalism, and is an old-fashioned hard determinist.
What do y’all think?
Every day, it seems, some verifiably intelligent person tells us that we don’t know what consciousness is. The nature of consciousness, they say, is an awesome mystery. It’s the ultimate hard problem. The current Wikipedia entry is typical: Consciousness “is the most mysterious aspect of our lives”; philosophers “have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness.”
I find this odd because we know exactly what consciousness is — where by “consciousness” I mean what most people mean in this debate: experience of any kind whatever. It’s the most familiar thing there is, whether it’s experience of emotion, pain, understanding what someone is saying, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting or feeling. It is in fact the only thing in the universe whose ultimate intrinsic nature we can claim to know. It is utterly unmysterious.
(Edited by Neil Rickert, to avoid possible copyright problems).