And here we come to the Great Debate. At what point does an organized system know (is conscious of) its function in relation to its surroundings. IMO everything in the universe is connected and functions in relation to its surroundings. Is that “consciousness”? “sentience”? “awareness”? “responsiveness”?
I believe Intelligence is just a minor part of consciousness. It allows for more data to be processed and abstract relational thinking. But is that necessary to be conscious?
Perhaps the word “consciousness” is too general and generic. We are conscious and we can observe and act in our environment. But we are not conscious of everything in our environment. In fact, it appears we really are conscious of only a tiny part of reality. But we are conscious of being an organism. “I think, therefore I am”.
IMO, there are probably several species who have the ability for abstract thought and self awareness.
Then, the universe itself is causally connected and reponsive. Bohm calls it Holonomy. But how do you classify Holonomy?
Fields, such as Gravity and EM are connected and respond to “disturbances”. How would we classify that? Sentience?
Insects are conscious, but their program (functionality) is very narrow and probably does not involve self-awareness. Yet they are responsive to external threats. How does one classify that?
Higher animals respond to their environment and can exhibit very sophisticated defense ot hunting mechanisms. Where does that fall in on the scale?
Humans are able to take causal action independent of direct causality. We build a dam, “just in case” there is a flood in the future. Is there a significant distinction in consciousness between action now and preventive action for the future?