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Consciousness - core issues.docx

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Steve Joordens

PSYA01 Oct. 22 Consciousness can refer to: 1. The state of being awake and alert … patients in a coma are NOT conscious  This is what doctors are concerned with 2. In a more general sense, being “aware” of something … so one could be conscious of the threat of global warming … or conscious of food in front of you 3. In a more specific sense, the state of being aware of oneself, or at least one‟s own thoughts … to be self-conscious of self-aware  Are animal entities self-aware of being? 4. When used as an adjective “conscious” thoughts or processes are typical linked to goals and the notion of behavioural control: we can sometimes „control‟ our actions/thoughts  This is the closest sciences get to discussing souls The Nature of Consciousness Intentionality: consciousness is directed toward something (always?) Unity: consciousness is very hard to divide … conscious of one thing at a time  Example: hard to focus on driving while on phone Selectivity: only certain aspects of stimuli are brought into consciousness Transience: it is difficult to keep consciousness from moving The Challenges of Consciousness Mind/Body problem: how much of the mind‟s problems is linked to a body‟s problems  Hans Sellier – stress (example) o Prolonged parasympathetic system that leads to sleeplessness, caused by thoughts Subjective phenomenology  Or what philosophers call qualia PSYA01 Oct. 2
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