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John Usher (30)

Consciousness as a Social Phenomenon.docx

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PSYC 3325
John Usher

Consciousness as a Social Phenomenon ● first position on consciousness is that it is not a natural phenomenon and that it is supernatural and miraculous not to be understood by human mind ● second position is tha consciousness is natural phenomenon but also that we cannot understand it for various reasons – exists because of nature of human brain  our brains cannot grasp concept  do not have methods to study it yet  poorly defined ● third position is that consciousness is produced by activity of brain and that we should be optimistic about our ability to understand it (Hebb) The Adaptive Significance of Consciousness ● consciousness is awareness of processes in brain, not processes themselves ● consciousness does not exist – humans have ability to be conscious ● most likley explanation for consciousness lies in its relation to deliberate, symbollic communicaion – our ability to communicate (words, signs, other symbollic meaning) provides us with self-awareness --> social phenomenon (like communication) Consciousness and the Ability to Communicate ● through communicating symbolically we can express our needs, thoughts, perceptions, memories, intentions, and feelings to other people ● require 2 general capacities:  must be able to translate private events (needs, thoughts, etc) into symbolic expressions ■ brain mechanisms we use to communicate with others must receive input from systems of brain involved in perceiving, thinking , remembering, etc  our symbols (words) must have effect on other person listening ■ once words are decoded in listener's brain they must affect listener's own thoughts, perceptions, memories and behaviour ● having both of these capa
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