I'm afraid I'm talking about my favourite topic, consciousness, wrong. Can you please check which of these cases of my trying to use the word on Reddit are correct?

  1. "Quantum wave form collapses after every interaction. So you don't need an observer and you don't need a consciousness to explain quantum physics."

  2. "But yeah, all possibilities might be true if parallel universes exist. The question is whether we can suppose that other consciousnesses in other universes are as conscious as we are - because we can't be sure those universes actually "exist" unless we ourselves experience them."

  3. "If you look into the polls, most philosophers think there's actually no "threshold" - in the sense that there can be a lot and a little of consciousness."

  4. "I think utilitarianism can be broaden to maximizing happiness for the maximum number of consciousnesses."

  • I don't know why someone voted to close as proofreading, but that's nuts. The question is about plurals and article usage for a single specific word, not generalized hunting for miscellaneous unidentified errors. Dec 27, 2017 at 0:26
  • The question assumes that consciousness can exist in the plural :) Dec 27, 2017 at 1:31
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Aha! So I should rather say "utilitarianism can be broaden to maximizing happiness for the maximum number of bearers of consciousnesses."?
    – Probably
    Dec 27, 2017 at 10:16
  • 1
    Cogito ergo sum gets you to consciousness. Not sure how to make the leap to the Other(s). But setting aside philosophical issues, conscious beings is probably more idiomatic than consciousnesses. Though phenomenologists are happy to use the plural --nesses Dec 27, 2017 at 11:23
  • In my opinion, consciousnesses is tortured but perfectly understandable. It displays gratuitivity and loquaciosity -- but many native speakers are equally guilty of making up words to fit. :)
    – Andrew
    Dec 27, 2017 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


This seems to me to be a matter of style. "Consciousness" first and foremost denotes a state or attribute of something. I'd prefer to say "a conscious being" or "conscious beings" because that seems to me to capture more clearly what you are trying to say in most of your examples. An exception is example 3 because there you clearly are talking about the attribute itself rather than things with that attribute.


The only issue is with #3 where you are introducing a countable noun but not using one. Make it consciousnesses and you all set.

Now, consciousnesses is an unusual construct and may sound at bit clunky at first usage, but it is accurate.

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