Long considered a mystery and still an object of worry among philosophers and neuroscientists for its stubborn refusal to die or just lie down and allow its own reduction to “objective” – third person – terms, consciousness is the explicit, sometimes outspoken side of the soul. Intentionality, the fact that so many of our thoughts are about something outside themselves, points back insistently to a subject with a distinctive (notably limited) perspective. Philosophers speak of qualia. But other facts about consciousness join in to attest to the soul’s active presence: the striking recursivity and implicit self-reference of thought (not least in the moral realm, where reflection begets conscience), our awareness of time and of others’ intentions, our ability to relate what we see to what we touch or hear and to claim both experiences as our own, the sense of connection that binds up our moments, and the simple (or not so simple) biology of selfhood that begins at the boundaries between one organism and the next but grows ever subtler and more versatile until consciousness openly claims one’s thoughts as one’s own and consciousness announces itself as the voice of an emergent person, of a soul.
Keywords: Selfhood and subjectivity, neuronal networks, awareness and attention, qualia, intentionality, theory of mind, Nyaya, Searle, Chisholm, Quine