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PSYA01H3 (1,196)
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Chapter 9

Chapter 9- big notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

Chapter 9: Consciousness Consciousness as a Social Phenomenon: Can we Understand Consciousness? three positions about the nature of consciousness: (1) it is something supernatural and miraculous, not to be u7nderstood by the human mind (2) it is a natural phenomenon (subject to the laws of physics) but we cannot understand it, or we lack the means to understand it (3) consciousness is produced by the activity of the human brain, and we should be optimistic about our ability to understand it The Adaptive Significance of Consciousness consciousness is the awareness of processes such as perceiving, remembering, and thinking it is not the process itself consciousness is a noun, but it is abstract (i.e. does not really exist) consciousness is something that we experience, it is private how do we know that other people are conscious too? through language and communication thats why, like communication, consciousness is a social phenomenon Consciousness and the Ability to Communicate we can express our needs, thoughts, perceptions, memories, intentions, and feelings to other people verbally in order to do the above, we need to: be able to translate our private events into expressions, and the other person must be able to listen and understand what we are expressing we can communicate with ourselves privately we can make plans in words, think about consequences in words, and use words to produce behaviours thinking in words involves subvocal articulation the brain mechanisms that permit us to understand words and produce speech are the same ones that we use to think in words apparently, we exercise our expressive language mechanisms as we think our ability to communicate with ourselves gives rise to consciousness humans are probably not the only living organisms that have self-awareness studies looking at the behaviour of animals viewing mirror images suggest that some primates may have a concept of self-awareness Consciousness and Moral Reasoning brain processes communicate symbolic expressions of right and wrong ex. two individuals who suffered damage to prefrontal areas of their brains before they were even 2 years old. As adults, both of them show 1 www.notesolution.com
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