Consciousness

   1) Consciousness and the New Mysterians
   Consciousness is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable.
   . . . Without consciousness the mind-body problem would be much less interesting. With consciousness it seems hopeless. (T. Nagel, 1979, pp. 165-166)
   2) Consciousness and Sensory Qualia
   This approach to understanding sensory qualia is both theoretically and empirically motivated . . . [;] it suggests an effective means of expressing the allegedly inexpressible. The "ineffable" pink of one's current visual sensation may be richly and precisely expressed as a 95Hz/80Hz/80Hz "chord" in the relevant triune cortical system. The "unconveyable" taste sensation produced by the fabled Australian health tonic Vegamite might be poignantly conveyed as a 85/80/90/15 "chord" in one's four channeled gustatory system. . . . And the "indescribably" olfactory sensation produced by a newly opened rose might be quite accurately described as a 95/35/10/80/60/55 "chord" in some six-dimensional space within one's olfactory bulb. (P. M. Churchland, 1989, p. 106)
   3) Consciousness Appears to Be the Last Bastion of Occult Properties
   One of philosophy's favorite facets of mentality has received scant attention from cognitive psychologists, and that is consciousness itself: fullblown, introspective, inner-world phenomenological consciousness. In fact if one looks in the obvious places . . . one finds not so much a lack of interest as a deliberate and adroit avoidance of the issue. I think I know why. Consciousness appears to be the last bastion of occult properties, epiphenomena, and immeasurable subjective states-in short, the one area of mind best left to the philosophers, who are welcome to it. Let them make fools of themselves trying to corral the quicksilver of "phenomenology" into a respectable theory. (Dennett, 1978b, p. 149)
   4) Consciousness Can Be Resolved into Its Elementary Sensations
   When I am thinking about anything, my consciousness consists of a number of ideas. . . . But every idea can be resolved into elements . . . and these elements are sensations. (Titchener, 1910, p. 33)
   5) Consciousness Is an Aspect of the Darwinian Machine
   A Darwin machine now provides a framework for thinking about thought, indeed one that may be a reasonable first approximation to the actual brain machinery underlying thought. An intracerebral Darwin Machine need not try out one sequence at a time against memory; it may be able to try out dozens, if not hundreds, simultaneously, shape up new generations in milliseconds, and thus initiate insightful actions without overt trial and error. This massively parallel selection among stochastic sequences is more analogous to the ways of darwinian biology than to the "von Neumann" serial computer. Which is why I call it a Darwin Machine instead; it shapes up thoughts in milliseconds rather than millennia, and uses innocuous remembered environments rather than noxious real-life ones. It may well create the uniquely human aspect of our consciousness. (Calvin, 1990, pp. 261-262)
   6) Problems about Consciousness Arise from Use of the Personal Pronoun "I"
   To suppose the mind to exist in two different states, in the same moment, is a manifest absurdity. To the whole series of states of the mind, then, whatever the individual, momentary successive states may be, I give the name of our consciousness. . . . There are not sensations, thoughts, passions, and also consciousness, any more than there is quadruped or animal, as a separate being to be added to the wolves, tygers, elephants, and other living creatures. . . . The fallacy of conceiving consciousness to be something different from the feeling, which is said to be its object, has arisen, in a great measure, from the use of the personal pronoun I. (T. Brown, 1970, p. 336)
   7) The Capacity for Consciousness and Self-Consciousness Is Characteristically Human
   The human capacity for speech is certainly unique. But the gulf between it and the behavior of animals no longer seems unbridgeable. . . . What does this leave us with, then, which is characteristically human?. . . . t resides in the human capacity for consciousness and self-consciousness. (Rose, 1976, p. 177)
   8) The Origin of the Problems of Consciousness
   [Human consciousness] depends wholly on our seeing the outside world in such categories. And the problems of consciousness arise from putting [i]reconstitution beside internalization, from our also being able to see ourselves as if we were objects in the outside world. That is in the very nature of language; it is impossible to have a symbolic system without it. . . . The Cartesian dualism between mind and body arises directly from this, and so do all the famous paradoxes, both in mathematics and in linguistics. . . . (Bronowski, 1978, pp. 38-39)
   9) Views on Consciousness and Computation
   It seems to me that there are at least four different viewpoints-or extremes of viewpoint-that one may reasonably hold on the matter [of computation and conscious thinking]:
   A. All thinking is computation; in particular, feelings of conscious awareness are evoked merely by the carrying out of appropriate computations.
   B. Awareness is a feature of the brain's physical action; and whereas any physical action can be simulated computationally, computational simulation cannot by itself evoke awareness.
   C. Appropriate physical action of the brain evokes awareness, but this physical action cannot even be properly simulated computationally.
   D. Awareness cannot be explained by physical, computational, or any other scientific terms. (Penrose, 1994, p. 12)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Consciousness — • In its widest sense it includes all sensations, thoughts, feelings, and volitions, in fact the sum total of mental life Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Consciousness     Consciousness …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Consciousness — Con scious*ness, n. 1. The state of being conscious; knowledge of one s own existence, condition, sensations, mental operations, acts, etc. [1913 Webster] Consciousness is thus, on the one hand, the recognition by the mind or ego of its acts and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • consciousness — index appreciation (perception), cognition, comprehension, impression, insight, knowledge (awareness) …   Law dictionary

  • consciousness — 1630s, internal knowledge, from CONSCIOUS (Cf. conscious) + NESS (Cf. ness). Meaning state of being aware is from 1746 …   Etymology dictionary

  • consciousness — [n] knowledge alertness, apprehension, awareness, care, carefulness, cognizance, concern, heed, heedfulness, mindfulness, realization, recognition, regard, sensibility; concept 409 Ant. senselessness, stupidity, unconsciousness …   New thesaurus

  • consciousness — ► NOUN 1) the state of being conscious. 2) one s awareness or perception of something …   English terms dictionary

  • consciousness — [kän′shəs nis] n. 1. the state of being conscious; awareness of one s own feelings, what is happening around one, etc. 2. the totality of one s thoughts, feelings, and impressions; conscious mind …   English World dictionary

  • Consciousness — Representation of consciousness from the seventeenth century. Consciousness is a term that refers to the relati …   Wikipedia

  • consciousness — noun 1 being able to see/hear/feel things ADJECTIVE ▪ full ▪ higher ▪ to aspire to a higher consciousness ▪ cosmic, divine ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • consciousness — /kon sheuhs nis/, n. 1. the state of being conscious; awareness of one s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. 2. the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people: the moral consciousness of …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.