Consciousness Analyzed

Perhaps there is no phenomenon as familiar and yet as complex and mysterious as consciousness. To date, no satisfactory scientific account of consciousness has been proven, leading philosophers like David Chalmers to conclude that consciousness is not reductively explainable (Chalmers 1996).
This paper reviews the various methods that have been used to study the nature of consciousness and whether these approaches have merit or, Chalmers maintain, are ultimately doomed to failure.
In the first part, this paper defines the phenomena of consciousness. The second part studies the claims of scientists like John Searle that a reductive, scientifically explainable process that results in ...

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by Max Velman.

Definitions of consciousness

The word "consciousness" is used to denote many concepts. It is often used to denote knowledge or cognizance ("I am conscious of the fact that the party is black-tie, however, I decided to wear jeans"). The term is also used to denote intentionality ("She consciously tripped her brother because she was jealous").
However, this paper is concerned with phenomenal consciousness, consciousness as an experience. A conscious state is phenomenal when there is something "it is like" (Nagel, cited in Chalmers, 1996). In other words, a being is considered conscious if other beings can imagine what it is like to be in that state.
In The Conscious Mind, David Chalmers refines this definition further, saying "a mental state is conscious if it has a qualitative feel - an associated quality of experience" (4). In this sense, a conscious experience refers to a feeling of what it is like to be an experiencing subject.
This is largely ...

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that conscious phenomena are rooted in a biological cause.
Since Descartes, scientists have strived to put forward a scientific, biological explanation to explain how the mind functions. John Searle, for example, believes that "Conscious states are caused by lower level neurobiological processes in the brain and are themselves higher level features of the brain" (Searle, 1990).
Similarly, Nobel Laureate Francis Crick (19##) writes "You, your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules" (3).
In this sense, every mental function is has ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 10/20/2015 02:54:52 AM
Category: Psychology
Words: 2716
Pages: 10

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