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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 - Consciousness

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

Chapter 9 Consciousness Consciousness as a Social Phenomenon - Consciousness: Links between attention and awareness, notion of self-awareness, consciousness as control (hypnotism), altered states of consciousness - Historically, people have taken 3 philosophical positions about the nature of consciousness: 1) Consciousness is not a natural phenomenon (subject to the laws of nature that all scientists attempt to discover: laws involving matter and purely physical forces) 2) Consciousness is a natural phenomenon that we cannot understand, it exists because of the nature of the human brain, but just how this occurs is not known 3) Consciousness is produced by the activity of the human brain and there is every reason for us to be optimistic about our ability to understand the phenomenon Consciousness is a noun but does not refer to a thing and therefore does not exist humans having the ability to do something in particular: be conscious what does it mean to be Consciousness is not a general property of all parts of the brain, known as blindsight (the ability to interact behaviourally with objects while remaining consciously unaware of them - Conscious vs. Unconscious Influences: Humans think of themselves as conscious entities (most of them time) the conscious self it in control of important behaviour but we also believe that some animals are not conscious but we believe that we are (to an extent) animals Reasonable to assume that our behaviours are unconsciously influences and some are consciously influenced - Consciousness and the Ability to Communicate: The ability to communicate with ourselves symbolically gives rise to consciousness (confirmed by experiment by Cheesman and Merikle in 1986 by words and colours) every accomplishment requires 2 general capacities: 1) Be able to translate private events 2) Words or other symbols must have effect on persons listening (like subvocal articulation) - Consciousness and the Control or Behaviour: In the past, psychologists found problems with using consciousness to explain behaviour as it was pointless to observes something (behaviour) with something not visible (consciousness) - Evidence for a Distinction The Use of Oppositional Tasks: Early research attempted to show a distinction between conscious and unconscious influence, recent finding have used a logic that assumes that conscious and unconscious influences are different (i.e. Coke www.notesolution.com
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