That's a different type of consciousness. (Just as the consciousness of physical objects through the senses is another type… basically we’re just using the word to mean observation.) Yes, it's important that we're able to have mental states aimed at goals, but all that is useless and meaningless if we aren't aware of the mental state itself. Awareness of thought cannot be described in terms of thought, because the awareness doesn’t consist of thought. The awareness, to put it simply, consists of absolute simple observation without judgement. You can have any kind of complex physical system set up to “think”, but you can never know if there’s an awareness of that system other than your own awareness of thoughts of it. I would argue therefore, that any activity First of all, “activity” seems to imply more thinking. What do you mean by activity, and why should activity be involved in observation of thought? The observation seems rather static to me, it’s not as though I see a different person’s thoughts each day of the week. (Of course if I did I’d never know, since the mind I’d be observing at any time would have only its own thoughts.) disengaged from the current state of events could not be called conscious. It cannot be called self-conscious if it’s not part of the state of affairs being observed (a.k.a. “current state of affairs”)... but I'd argue nothing should be called self-conscious. Our idea of self-consciousness simply arises from the fact that what we're conscious of makes up the entirety of our experience... it's very difficult for us to think of the perspective of observation as being something distinct from the observed, because of the fact that nothing is aware of the perspective. You can never observe your own consciousness, you can only deduce it from your awareness of thought. There's no need to describe the conscious awareness, since it's simply awareness. (Or if there were anything more to it, theoretically, we could never know since by it's definition as the perspective from which we observe everything we necessarily can't observe it. The only thing that could know it would be something 2 levels up from the mind, something observing our perspective, which I find no reason to believe in.) The view of the consciousness as separate causes absolutely no extra problems not involved with a self-conscious mind, because the result of the lack of self-observation is a perfect illusion that the thing being observed is observing itself. Making the logical distinction between them simply has the advantage of doing away with the logical problem of a camera trying to take a picture of itself, so I find this point of view useful for logic despite the lack of practical difference.