Human Consciousness: Definition

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's first hypothesis - that consciousness (as he carefully defines it) is based on language, and related topics.
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Human Consciousness: Definition

Post by finesse »

Is here a definition of human consciousness? Is that of Theilard de Chardin the nearest, i.e. that man knows that he knows?
Memento Mori
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Re: human consciousness

Post by Memento Mori »

Last edited by Memento Mori on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Human Consciousness: Definition

Post by BEN »

Yes I like it. Not sure a subjective conscious mind is the same as consciousness though. Check out the Jaynes example of the piano player on pages 25-26.
Ive been on the zeitgeist forum where I've been trying to explain consciousness. What a frustrating task. I did however come across a post with Eckhart Tolle on it, on u-tube, and watching it he was talking about the 'now', what I regard as consciousness. I found Tolle little frustrating though.
Anyway in a thread with an avid follower of Tolle :roll: he said after a lengthy discussion that, "You are not your mind, you are the one who experiences and watches the mind."
I wrote back to say, "consciousness is the one that is doing the observing and experiencing the mind."

So my definition would be, "consciousness is the mechanism that observes and experiences the mind."
That might change to, "consciousness is the mechanism that observes and experiences the mind while being aware of it's individuality and morality.
What do you think?
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Re: Human Consciousness: Definition

Post by martinem »

When trying to define consciousness you easily end up using predicates as know, experience or observe, all of which distinguishes between a subject and an object. This division is related to the dualisms of Plato, Descartes, and almost all the philosophers that are mentioned on page 1 in "the origin...". I think Dennet would agree on that this dualism is the most important concept to get around when trying to understanding consciousness.
Hence dualism is inherent in language, which could mean two things: 1. Language does precede consciousness, and 2. Language is incapable of describing consciousness.
Maybe we need to invent a new language to discuss consciousness? A little bit like Newton invented calculus to be able to describe gravity?
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