“What is Consciousness?” “Where does Consciousness reside?” “Are humans the only conscious species on the planet?” Consciousness is a foundational concept for understanding human nature, but there is little agreement on what anatomical structures and physiological functions produce consciousness. There is no doubt that questions about consciousness are some of the most complex researchers have tackled today and throughout history. The Templeton World Charity Foundation’s Accelerating Research on Consciousness (ARC) initiative proposes unique avenues for addressing these complex questions.
Drawing on best practices in open science and “adversarial collaboration,” ARC promotes open and rigorous engagement among leaders of opposing theories. Six labs around the world are participating in a new project based on adversarial collaboration in order to organize around at least two competing theories of consciousness. All the data will be available to researchers for review. Consciousness is certainly one of the great remaining mysteries of the Universe; and this initiative is aimed at understanding why some theories may make more sense than others.