consciousness

Define conscious. conscious synonyms, conscious pronunciation, conscious translation, English dictionary definition of conscious. adj. 1. a. Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.

Philosophers who consider subjective experience the essence of consciousness also generally believe, as a correlate, that the existence and nature of animal consciousness can never rigorously be known. More Definitions for conscious. I am conscious of your great kindness to me. Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? There has been some research into physiological changes in yogis and people who practise various techniques of meditation.

Define conscious. conscious synonyms, conscious pronunciation, conscious translation, English dictionary definition of conscious. adj. 1. a. Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.
Consciousness may have a determinative role in quantum mechanics. Since consciousness is the primary aspect of an observer, and observation is sometimes viewed as a primary reason for apparent wave function collapse, consciousness may account for aspects of the measurement problem exemplified by the Schrödinger's cat paradox.
Consciousness may have a determinative role in quantum mechanics. Since consciousness is the primary aspect of an observer, and observation is sometimes viewed as a primary reason for apparent wave function collapse, consciousness may account for aspects of the measurement problem exemplified by the Schrödinger's cat paradox.
Define conscious. conscious synonyms, conscious pronunciation, conscious translation, English dictionary definition of conscious. adj. 1. a. Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.
Define conscious. conscious synonyms, conscious pronunciation, conscious translation, English dictionary definition of conscious. adj. 1. a. Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.
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aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something. aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences. aware of changes in climate cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources.

They were conscious of his disapproval. The patient soon regained consciousness. References in classic literature? And experiences of the same kind are necessary for the individual to become conscious of himself; but here there is the difference that, although everyone becomes equally conscious of his body as a separate and complete organism, everyone does not become equally conscious of himself as a complete and separate personality.

For this purpose, let us as a preliminary consider different ways of being conscious. A village is an organism, conscious of its several parts, as a town is not. He had discovered that it was different from the other walls long before he had any thoughts of his own, any conscious volitions. Even in the moments when she was most thoroughly conscious of his superiority to her other admirers, she had never brought herself to think of accepting him.

When Ralph Denham entered the room and saw Katharine seated with her back to him, he was conscious of a change in the grade of the atmosphere such as a traveler meets with sometimes upon the roads, particularly after sunset, when, without warning, he runs from clammy chill to a hoard of unspent warmth in which the sweetness of hay and beanfield is cherished, as if the sun still shone although the moon is up.

Suddenly conscious of this bold question, and of the self-abandonment which it implied, she returned mechanically to her book, distrusting the unrestrained liberty of her own thoughts.

Every general and every soldier was conscious of his own insignificance, aware of being but a drop in that ocean of men, and yet at the same time was conscious of his strength as a part of that enormous whole.

Oh, I am not conscious of it, believe me, I am not conscious of it. The Mule carrying the treasure walked with head erect, as if conscious of the value of his burden, and tossed up and down the clear-toned bells fastened to his neck. Why, the whole point, the real sting of it lay in the fact that continually, even in the moment of the acutest spleen, I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and amusing myself by it.

Richard Twining bubbled over with quaint absurdities, and George Road, conscious that he need not exhibit a brilliancy which was almost a by-word, opened his mouth only to put food into it. A more straightforward way of saying this is that we attribute experiences to people because of what they can do , including the fact that they can tell us about their experiences.

The topic of animal consciousness is beset by a number of difficulties. It poses the problem of other minds in an especially severe form, because non-human animals, lacking the ability to express human language, cannot tell us about their experiences. Descartes, for example, has sometimes been blamed for mistreatment of animals due to the fact that he believed only humans have a non-physical mind.

Philosophers who consider subjective experience the essence of consciousness also generally believe, as a correlate, that the existence and nature of animal consciousness can never rigorously be known.

He said that an organism is conscious "if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism — something it is like for the organism"; and he argued that no matter how much we know about an animal's brain and behavior, we can never really put ourselves into the mind of the animal and experience its world in the way it does itself.

On July 7, , eminent scientists from different branches of neuroscience gathered at the University of Cambridge to celebrate the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, which deals with consciousness in humans and pre-linguistic consciousness in nonhuman animals. After the conference, they signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking , the 'Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness', which summarizes the most important findings of the survey:. It's obvious to everyone in this room that animals have consciousness, but it is not obvious to the rest of the world.

It is not obvious to the rest of the Western world or the Far East. It is not obvious to the society. The idea of an artifact made conscious is an ancient theme of mythology, appearing for example in the Greek myth of Pygmalion , who carved a statue that was magically brought to life, and in medieval Jewish stories of the Golem , a magically animated homunculus built of clay.

Lovelace was essentially dismissive of the idea that a machine such as the Analytical Engine could think in a humanlike way. It is desirable to guard against the possibility of exaggerated ideas that might arise as to the powers of the Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.

It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths. Its province is to assist us in making available what we are already acquainted with. One of the most influential contributions to this question was an essay written in by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing , titled Computing Machinery and Intelligence.

Turing disavowed any interest in terminology, saying that even "Can machines think? In his essay Turing discussed a variety of possible objections, and presented a counterargument to each of them. The Turing test is commonly cited in discussions of artificial intelligence as a proposed criterion for machine consciousness; it has provoked a great deal of philosophical debate. For example, Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter argue that anything capable of passing the Turing test is necessarily conscious, [65] while David Chalmers argues that a philosophical zombie could pass the test, yet fail to be conscious.

In a lively exchange over what has come to be referred to as "the Chinese room argument", John Searle sought to refute the claim of proponents of what he calls "strong artificial intelligence AI " that a computer program can be conscious, though he does agree with advocates of "weak AI" that computer programs can be formatted to "simulate" conscious states.

His own view is that consciousness has subjective, first-person causal powers by being essentially intentional due simply to the way human brains function biologically; conscious persons can perform computations, but consciousness is not inherently computational the way computer programs are.

To make a Turing machine that speaks Chinese, Searle imagines a room with one monolingual English speaker Searle himself, in fact , a book that designates a combination of Chinese symbols to be output paired with Chinese symbol input, and boxes filled with Chinese symbols. In this case, the English speaker is acting as a computer and the rulebook as a program. Searle argues that with such a machine, he would be able to process the inputs to outputs perfectly without having any understanding of Chinese, nor having any idea what the questions and answers could possibly mean.

If the experiment were done in English, since Searle knows English, he would be able to take questions and give answers without any algorithms for English questions, and he would be effectively aware of what was being said and the purposes it might serve. Searle would pass the Turing test of answering the questions in both languages, but he is only conscious of what he is doing when he speaks English.

Another way of putting the argument is to say that computer programs can pass the Turing test for processing the syntax of a language, but that the syntax cannot lead to semantic meaning in the way strong AI advocates hoped. In the literature concerning artificial intelligence, Searle's essay has been second only to Turing's in the volume of debate it has generated. But other thinkers sympathetic to his basic argument have suggested that the necessary though perhaps still not sufficient extra conditions may include the ability to pass not just the verbal version of the Turing test, but the robotic version, [71] which requires grounding the robot's words in the robot's sensorimotor capacity to categorize and interact with the things in the world that its words are about, Turing-indistinguishably from a real person.

Turing-scale robotics is an empirical branch of research on embodied cognition and situated cognition. In , Victor Argonov has suggested a non-Turing test for machine consciousness based on machine's ability to produce philosophical judgments. However, this test can be used only to detect, but not refute the existence of consciousness.

A positive result proves that machine is conscious but a negative result proves nothing. For many decades, consciousness as a research topic was avoided by the majority of mainstream scientists, because of a general feeling that a phenomenon defined in subjective terms could not properly be studied using objective experimental methods.

Modern medical and psychological investigations into consciousness are based on psychological experiments including, for example, the investigation of priming effects using subliminal stimuli , and on case studies of alterations in consciousness produced by trauma, illness, or drugs. Broadly viewed, scientific approaches are based on two core concepts. The first identifies the content of consciousness with the experiences that are reported by human subjects; the second makes use of the concept of consciousness that has been developed by neurologists and other medical professionals who deal with patients whose behavior is impaired.

In either case, the ultimate goals are to develop techniques for assessing consciousness objectively in humans as well as other animals, and to understand the neural and psychological mechanisms that underlie it. Experimental research on consciousness presents special difficulties, due to the lack of a universally accepted operational definition.

In the majority of experiments that are specifically about consciousness, the subjects are human, and the criterion used is verbal report: In several paradigms, such as the technique of response priming , the behavior of subjects is clearly influenced by stimuli for which they report no awareness, and suitable experimental manipulations can lead to increasing priming effects despite decreasing prime identification double dissociation.

Verbal report is widely considered to be the most reliable indicator of consciousness, but it raises a number of issues. As a third issue, philosophers who dispute the validity of the Turing test may feel that it is possible, at least in principle, for verbal report to be dissociated from consciousness entirely: Although verbal report is in practice the "gold standard" for ascribing consciousness, it is not the only possible criterion. The last three of these can be used as indicators of consciousness when verbal behavior is absent.

Their reliability as indicators of consciousness is disputed, however, due to numerous studies showing that alert human subjects can be induced to behave purposefully in a variety of ways in spite of reporting a complete lack of awareness. Another approach applies specifically to the study of self-awareness , that is, the ability to distinguish oneself from others.

In the s Gordon Gallup developed an operational test for self-awareness, known as the mirror test. The test examines whether animals are able to differentiate between seeing themselves in a mirror versus seeing other animals.

The classic example involves placing a spot of coloring on the skin or fur near the individual's forehead and seeing if they attempt to remove it or at least touch the spot, thus indicating that they recognize that the individual they are seeing in the mirror is themselves. A major part of the scientific literature on consciousness consists of studies that examine the relationship between the experiences reported by subjects and the activity that simultaneously takes place in their brains—that is, studies of the neural correlates of consciousness.

The hope is to find that activity in a particular part of the brain, or a particular pattern of global brain activity, which will be strongly predictive of conscious awareness. Several brain imaging techniques, such as EEG and fMRI , have been used for physical measures of brain activity in these studies.

Another idea that has drawn attention for several decades is that consciousness is associated with high-frequency gamma band oscillations in brain activity. This idea arose from proposals in the s, by Christof von der Malsburg and Wolf Singer, that gamma oscillations could solve the so-called binding problem , by linking information represented in different parts of the brain into a unified experience. A number of studies have shown that activity in primary sensory areas of the brain is not sufficient to produce consciousness: There is substantial evidence that a "top-down" flow of neural activity i.

Modulation of neural responses may correlate with phenomenal experiences. In contrast to the raw electrical responses that do not correlate with consciousness, the modulation of these responses by other stimuli correlates surprisingly well with an important aspect of consciousness: In , Graziano and Kastner [97] proposed the "attention schema" theory of awareness.

In that theory, specific cortical areas, notably in the superior temporal sulcus and the temporo-parietal junction, are used to build the construct of awareness and attribute it to other people. The same cortical machinery is also used to attribute awareness to oneself.

Damage to these cortical regions can lead to deficits in consciousness such as hemispatial neglect. In the attention schema theory, the value of explaining the feature of awareness and attributing it to a person is to gain a useful predictive model of that person's attentional processing.

Attention is a style of information processing in which a brain focuses its resources on a limited set of interrelated signals. Awareness, in this theory, is a useful, simplified schema that represents attentional states. To be aware of X is explained by constructing a model of one's attentional focus on X. In the , the perturbational complexity index PCI was proposed, a measure of the algorithmic complexity of the electrophysiological response of the cortex to transcranial magnetic stimulation.

This measure was shown to be higher in individuals that are awake, in REM sleep or in a locked-in state than in those who are in deep sleep or in a vegetative state, [98] making it potentially useful as a quantitative assessment of consciousness states.

Assuming that not only humans but even some non-mammalian species are conscious, a number of evolutionary approaches to the problem of neural correlates of consciousness open up. For example, assuming that birds are conscious — a common assumption among neuroscientists and ethologists due to the extensive cognitive repertoire of birds — there are comparative neuroanatomical ways to validate some of the principal, currently competing, mammalian consciousness—brain theories. The rationale for such a comparative study is that the avian brain deviates structurally from the mammalian brain.

So how similar are they? What homologues can be identified? The general conclusion from the study by Butler, et al. The structures assumed to be critical for consciousness in mammalian brains have homologous counterparts in avian brains. Thus the main portions of the theories of Crick and Koch, [] Edelman and Tononi, [] and Cotterill [] seem to be compatible with the assumption that birds are conscious.

Edelman also differentiates between what he calls primary consciousness which is a trait shared by humans and non-human animals and higher-order consciousness as it appears in humans alone along with human language capacity. For instance, the suggestion by Crick and Koch that layer 5 neurons of the mammalian brain have a special role, seems difficult to apply to the avian brain, since the avian homologues have a different morphology. The assumption of an avian consciousness also brings the reptilian brain into focus.

The reason is the structural continuity between avian and reptilian brains, meaning that the phylogenetic origin of consciousness may be earlier than suggested by many leading neuroscientists. Joaquin Fuster of UCLA has advocated the position of the importance of the prefrontal cortex in humans, along with the areas of Wernicke and Broca, as being of particular importance to the development of human language capacities neuro-anatomically necessary for the emergence of higher-order consciousness in humans.

Opinions are divided as to where in biological evolution consciousness emerged and about whether or not consciousness has any survival value. Some argue that consciousness is a byproduct of evolution. It has been argued that consciousness emerged i exclusively with the first humans, ii exclusively with the first mammals, iii independently in mammals and birds, or iv with the first reptiles.

Regarding the primary function of conscious processing, a recurring idea in recent theories is that phenomenal states somehow integrate neural activities and information-processing that would otherwise be independent. Another example has been proposed by Gerald Edelman called dynamic core hypothesis which puts emphasis on reentrant connections that reciprocally link areas of the brain in a massively parallel manner.

These theories of integrative function present solutions to two classic problems associated with consciousness: They show how our conscious experience can discriminate between a virtually unlimited number of different possible scenes and details differentiation because it integrates those details from our sensory systems, while the integrative nature of consciousness in this view easily explains how our experience can seem unified as one whole despite all of these individual parts.

However, it remains unspecified which kinds of information are integrated in a conscious manner and which kinds can be integrated without consciousness. Nor is it explained what specific causal role conscious integration plays, nor why the same functionality cannot be achieved without consciousness. Obviously not all kinds of information are capable of being disseminated consciously e. For a review of the differences between conscious and unconscious integrations, see the article of E.

As noted earlier, even among writers who consider consciousness to be a well-defined thing, there is widespread dispute about which animals other than humans can be said to possess it. Thus, any examination of the evolution of consciousness is faced with great difficulties.

Nevertheless, some writers have argued that consciousness can be viewed from the standpoint of evolutionary biology as an adaptation in the sense of a trait that increases fitness. Other philosophers, however, have suggested that consciousness would not be necessary for any functional advantage in evolutionary processes.

There are some brain states in which consciousness seems to be absent, including dreamless sleep, coma, and death. There are also a variety of circumstances that can change the relationship between the mind and the world in less drastic ways, producing what are known as altered states of consciousness.

Some altered states occur naturally; others can be produced by drugs or brain damage. The two most widely accepted altered states are sleep and dreaming. Although dream sleep and non-dream sleep appear very similar to an outside observer, each is associated with a distinct pattern of brain activity, metabolic activity, and eye movement; each is also associated with a distinct pattern of experience and cognition. During ordinary non-dream sleep, people who are awakened report only vague and sketchy thoughts, and their experiences do not cohere into a continuous narrative.

During dream sleep, in contrast, people who are awakened report rich and detailed experiences in which events form a continuous progression, which may however be interrupted by bizarre or fantastic intrusions. Both dream and non-dream states are associated with severe disruption of memory: Research conducted on the effects of partial epileptic seizures on consciousness found that patients who suffer from partial epileptic seizures experience altered states of consciousness.

Studies found that when measuring the qualitative features during partial epileptic seizures, patients exhibited an increase in arousal and became absorbed in the experience of the seizure, followed by difficulty in focusing and shifting attention. A variety of psychoactive drugs , including alcohol , have notable effects on consciousness.

The brain mechanisms underlying these effects are not as well understood as those induced by use of alcohol , [] but there is substantial evidence that alterations in the brain system that uses the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin play an essential role. There has been some research into physiological changes in yogis and people who practise various techniques of meditation.

Some research with brain waves during meditation has reported differences between those corresponding to ordinary relaxation and those corresponding to meditation. It has been disputed, however, whether there is enough evidence to count these as physiologically distinct states of consciousness. The most extensive study of the characteristics of altered states of consciousness was made by psychologist Charles Tart in the s and s. Tart analyzed a state of consciousness as made up of a number of component processes, including exteroception sensing the external world ; interoception sensing the body ; input-processing seeing meaning ; emotions; memory; time sense; sense of identity; evaluation and cognitive processing; motor output; and interaction with the environment.

The components that Tart identified have not, however, been validated by empirical studies. Research in this area has not yet reached firm conclusions, but a recent questionnaire-based study identified eleven significant factors contributing to drug-induced states of consciousness: Phenomenology is a method of inquiry that attempts to examine the structure of consciousness in its own right, putting aside problems regarding the relationship of consciousness to the physical world.

This approach was first proposed by the philosopher Edmund Husserl , and later elaborated by other philosophers and scientists. In philosophy , phenomenology has largely been devoted to fundamental metaphysical questions, such as the nature of intentionality "aboutness".

In psychology , phenomenology largely has meant attempting to investigate consciousness using the method of introspection , which means looking into one's own mind and reporting what one observes. This method fell into disrepute in the early twentieth century because of grave doubts about its reliability, but has been rehabilitated to some degree, especially when used in combination with techniques for examining brain activity. Introspectively, the world of conscious experience seems to have considerable structure.

Immanuel Kant asserted that the world as we perceive it is organized according to a set of fundamental "intuitions", which include 'object' we perceive the world as a set of distinct things ; 'shape'; 'quality' color, warmth, etc. Understanding the physical basis of qualities, such as redness or pain, has been particularly challenging.

David Chalmers has called this the hard problem of consciousness. For example, research on ideasthesia shows that qualia are organised into a semantic-like network.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the relationship between a physical entity such as light and a perceptual quality such as color is extraordinarily complex and indirect, as demonstrated by a variety of optical illusions such as neon color spreading. In neuroscience, a great deal of effort has gone into investigating how the perceived world of conscious awareness is constructed inside the brain.

The process is generally thought to involve two primary mechanisms: Signals arising from sensory organs are transmitted to the brain and then processed in a series of stages, which extract multiple types of information from the raw input. In the visual system, for example, sensory signals from the eyes are transmitted to the thalamus and then to the primary visual cortex ; inside the cerebral cortex they are sent to areas that extract features such as three-dimensional structure, shape, color, and motion.

First, it allows sensory information to be evaluated in the context of previous experience. Second, and even more importantly, working memory allows information to be integrated over time so that it can generate a stable representation of the world— Gerald Edelman expressed this point vividly by titling one of his books about consciousness The Remembered Present.

State of being aware, or perceiving physical facts or mental concepts; a state of general wakefulness and responsiveness to environment; a functioning sensorium.

Altered states range from the normal, complete alertness to depression, confusion, delirium and finally loss of consciousness. References in periodicals archive? In a city very concious of its ethnic multiplicity, the solo autobiographical monologue has also become an outlet for cultural self-definition and a mechanism for demystifying race and "otherness.

The massive parallelism in human brain processes is well below the level of concious awareness, and it is of the essence of deductive reasoning that the human reasoner be fully concious of the 'ipestemological flow' of the proof and of its step-wise assembling of his or her assent and understanding. Logic and logic programming. Our hypothesis is that there exists a concious choice of reproductive goals among married couples and there is no likelihood of any significant change in these expressed choices over time for the last twenty years.

Fertility preferences and contraceptive use in Pakistan. She did a good job schooling at home on Monday "Hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe we should have bowled along at Fakenham, but I was just concious that if we get to Cheltenham, we couldn't ride him like that. Pendleton saddles her first winner.

Conscious implies to be awake or awakened to an inner realization of a fact, a truth, a condition, etc.: to be conscious of an extreme weariness. Aware lays the emphasis on sense perceptions insofar as they are the object of conscious recognition: He was aware of the odor of tobacco. aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something. aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences. aware of changes in climate cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources. Define conscious. conscious synonyms, conscious pronunciation, conscious translation, English dictionary definition of conscious. adj. 1. a. Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.

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