Consciously avoiding the X-factor
In our personal lives, the fact of our consciousness – in other words, the fact that we have experiences, such as hearing sounds or seeing colours – is a central aspect of existence. In contrast, science seems to, get on very well without taking explicit note of consciousness at all. Is this because consciousness genuinely does not need be taken into account in the understanding of the natural world, or is it because current science, as a result of some selectivity in its methodology, is effectively blind to the role of consciousness? There has been a considerable growth in interest in the subject in recent years, its status having changed from that of a dubious fringe subject to one that is more or less acceptable for a scientist to work on.