Davidson Fellows - 2012 Fellow Ioana Grosu


Ioana Grosu

$10,000 Scholarship Recipient

Age: 17
Troy, MI
Category: Philosophy
Project Title: “Consciousness and the Hard Problem: Discovering the Mind.”


Ioana's project concentrated on the study of consciousness. It specifically focused on the hard problem of consciousness, which seeks to determine what subjective experience is and what (if anything) makes it up. She shows that a good explanation of how consciousness arises lies in a theory called “emergent dualism”, which considers that consciousness is an emergent property, arising from a sufficiently complex system. Her findings contribute to a better understanding of consciousness and have important implications in various fields ranging from medicine to artificial intelligence.

Ioana's investigation of the hard problem of consciousness could have implications on how we view and make moral decisions. For example, one could consider the case of comatose patients that have no chance of awakening. The doctors and the family often base their decisions on whether or not the patient at hand is conscious. If they could have some objective way of deciding that the patient is conscious, then the decision would be able to be made much more effectively. Were consciousness to be an emergent trait, and assuming that the brain structure remained intact, then the person would, in fact, still be considered to be conscious. This means that cutting off life support for the person can be considered immoral, following a certain set of moral rules. Cases such as this are reasons for why the study of consciousness ought to be pursued.

Ioana is a rising senior at the International Academy in Troy, MI, and is completing her work for the International Baccalaureate diploma. She is applying to colleges and is planning to major in philosophy. She is a Scholastic Art and Writing Award, National Silver Medal Winner in Poetry.

Click the links below to view hi-res photos of Ioana:

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Click here to view the full listing of the 2012 Davidson Fellows. 
Click here to view Ioana's press release.

For all media inquiries, please contact DavidsonFellowsMedia@davidsongifted.org

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