Consciousness - with what it was before." If...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Consciousness - the awareness or perception of the environment and of one's own mental processes. Many books state that consciousness is the awareness of internal and external stimuli. One problem with this definition, and with this area of study as a whole, is that it seems like an impossible area to understand since we do not know if the experience of consciousness is the same (or even similar) between individuals. I can tell you about my conscious experiences, and you can tell me about yours, but we can never truly understand and appreciate the conscious of others? Can I really understand what it is like to think the way you think or if we imagine things the same way? I. William James - possibly the most influential figure in the study of consciousness (you know that phrase, "stream of consciousness"? That's his). He identified the following 4 basic perspectives on consciousness. He indicated that, consciousness is: 1) . .. Always Changing - can't be held for study: "No state once gone can recur and be identical
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: with what it was before." If that is the case, then how in the world do we study it? 2) . .. A Personal Experience- you can try to tell me about your consciousness but I can never appreciate it or experience it. 3) . .. Continuous- our awareness is not broken into pieces, and there are no gaps. We really can't tell where one thought ends and one begins. "Consciousness then does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. ..It is nothing jointed; it flows. A river or stream is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness. .." 4) . .. Selective- awareness is often a matter of making choices, of selecting what to attend to and what to ignore. In general, when we speak of "consciousness" we refer to either being awake or being asleep. There are, however, altered states of consciousness: sleep, drugs, hypnosis, meditation, sensory deprivation, sensory confusion....
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online