Imagine a championship match between two rival basketball teams. The game is tied, seconds left on the shot clock, two players lunge forward, reaching for the ball. In a split second, their hands both collide with the ball, but neither player gains possession. Instead, the ball goes soaring out of bounds. Immediately an argument erupts as each player claims the other knocked the ball out. The referee desperately tries to break the two apart and make the correct call.
As the very word used to describe it has been “worn smooth by a million tongues”, consciousness is a fertile topic for confusion. We all know what it is to be conscious. It is, basically, being aware of and responding to the world. Similarly, we all possess a common sense notion of how consciousness works.