Home Discussion Forum Would there be consciousness if there were no senses or feelings?

Would there be consciousness if there were no senses or feelings?

Suppose some crazy scientist performs an experiment on creating a genetically modified human where he disables body functions smell, taste, vision, hearing and touch. So the human is born like that from day one. Would the human be able to be aware of his/her existence? Would he/she be able to think? And could that even be considered a form of life?


  1. It’s called sensory deprivation and it has been studied at great length. The mind creates hallucinations to compensate.
    if a child were born devoid of all senses, they would suffer failure to thrive and die within the first 3 months.
    No consciousness is possible without a huge INITIAL input. After that the brain can generate it’s own input so the actual state of null experience could never actually occur.
    Sensation and consciousness are inextricably linked.

  2. No, there would be no consciousness. Consciousness=Identification, in the sense that you don’t know what you have perceived until you identify it; you have not perceived it until you have sensed it. This method of gaining the contents of consciousness, in effect putting entities on the “tabula rasa” so it is no longer a “blankness”, is called “knowledge acquisition” and was identified by Aristotle.
    “Differentiation is the critical or analytical component of decoding during which relevant information is identified or recognized and classified into categories.” http://staff.ed.uiuc.edu/esecaras/ES/dra…
    In plain English, that means that “differentiation” is the process begun at birth when the infant tries to make sense of the differences between, for example, his mother, his grandmother, his sister, and a nurse, who are all the same in some way that he has not “put his finger on yet.” They are all female, and eventually he differentiates females from males.
    “Categorizing” is identifying the universal, or essence, versus its particular instance. For example, the universal is “female” (a category) and the particular is “sister” (a species both of “female” and of “family members”).
    To cut off all of a person’s senses would leave him unconscious in the literal sense of that word, because consciousness is consciousness of “something” and without the constance of sensate perception the subjective mind would go insane trying to make sense of the concept of his life when he would have no way to know whether it was day or night, Sunday or Wednesday, whether he was being fed or whether he was defecating in his adult diapers, which he would in the beginning presume people are putting on him; but even after a short while that would become a forgotten issue as he sinks deeper into the circularity of his own thinking.
    He would have to be placed in a straight jacket and put in a padded room or strapped to a bed, perhaps even placed into medically-induced coma, because he would not know if he was swinging his arms and breaking them on walls, wouldn’t know if he was standing or falling, wouldn’t know if he smashed his head open on the floor or fell on a sharp object. Consciousness is consciousness of something, primarily of knowing what your own body is doing.


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