Lecture3Sleep - Lecture States of Consciousness I The...

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Lecture States of Consciousness I. The Nature of Consciousness Defining consciousness remains as one of the most illusive of all psychological construct. As William James once stated, consciousness is not a thing but a process. Exactly what that process is has yet to be discovered. In typical Westernized fashion, scientists hope to attack the problem with empirical evidence, but how much evidence can be garnered and what should be investigated? Views within the field range from reductionist (explaining consciousness by using standard neuroscience and psychology) to mystical (consciousness is simply unexplainable). David Chalmers (1992) proposes that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. Chalmers breaks the problem of consciousness into easy questions (how do we discriminate sensory stimuli, or how do we verbalize internal states) and hard questions (how do physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience?). According to him, consciousness research is only addressing the easy problems. For example, he argues that Crick and Koch (advocates for a neurological explanation for consciousness) have suggested that consciousness may arise from the synchronization of neurons firing 40 times per second in different parts of
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course PSY 101 taught by Professor Ahola during the Spring '08 term at Skidmore.

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Lecture3Sleep - Lecture States of Consciousness I The...

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