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Theories of Consciousness

Theories of Consciousness

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Published by Wuzna Haroon

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Wuzna Haroon on Jan 01, 2012
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THEORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
CONSCIOUSNESS
DEFINATION:
"It means the awareness people have of outside world and of their perceptions, images andfeelings."OR To define consciousness, we can only use another word ___ awareness, for exampleconsciousness means you are conscious of something; it is opposed to inertness or nonconsciousness.
EXPLANATION:
Consciousness is extremely complex because of its interdisciplinary nature. Because itincludes discipline as
y
 
P
sychology
y
 
Biology
y
 
P
hilosophy
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P
hysics
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E
xtrasensory perceptionBehaviorists considered consciousness as inappropriate for scientific study; in fact they wereconcerned about the validity of the introspection, a method to measure consciousness.
 
W
ith the emergence of cognitive psychology in 1980's consciousness has become a popular topic for numerous books. In recent years, cognitive psychologists have been especiallyinterested with four interrelated concerned with consciousness.
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The ability to brought thoughts into consciousness.
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Our ability to let thoughts escape from consciousness.
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Blind sight, reveals that people can perform quite accurately on cognitive tasks, eventhey are not aware to their accurate performance.
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P
erspective on unconsciousness.
THEORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
1.
 
PERCEPTUAL FIELD BASED TH EORIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
In almost all theories of consciousness there is, in some form or other, what is called the perceptual field which is later called as the
Blackboard, Global Workspace
, and the
Cartesian Theatre
. In some cases, the theory is independent of the exact nature of the perceptual field. However, in others the influence of presentational concepts and terminologyis reflected in the theory¶s view of consciousness.
a.
 
BAARS¶ COGNITIVE THEORY
Baars develops a cognitive theory of consciousness. In this, a broad definition of 
³
consciousness´
is used in which it is treated as a distinct system to the rest of brainfunctioning, i.e. the µunconscious¶ with a strong emphasis on cognition. The brain iscomposed of interacting subsystems, one of which is conscious and self controlled.Central to the theory is the ³Global
W
orkspace´, a common area where messages arerelayed and broadcast, it has a strong presentational character. Here is whereconsciousness is said to reside, although details are not given as to what makes
 
something conscious. From this perspective it is suggested ³Conscious processes have agreat range of possible contents,´ and therefore offers an evolutionary selectiveadvantage. This is in contrast to the functioning of unconscious components, withoutthe intervention of conscious control, which it is suggested lead to certain drawbacksand possible errors in the operation of some tasks.
E
xploring the constraints of consciousness, Baars considers the serial nature of consciousness, and suggests that wecannot have two different thoughts at the same time and be conscious of them. Howmuch is this due to our environment and image of the Self as one? Language imposes aserial order, so words and thoughts have a sequentially defined meaning, i.e. defined ona serial grammar with hard-wired semantics. Finally, Baars makes the point that³Consciousness processes are computationally inefficient´ when understood on certainaccounts.
W
hen something is worked out consciously, it forces a consciousrepresentation that is anchored by environmental constraints. Reasoning can becomesusceptible to errors since it involves manually applying an appropriate procedure. This paraphrases Baars¶ view of the brain as subsystems, the conscious subsystem being alimited sequentially oriented device, perhaps a symbolic manipulator, a recentevolutionary adjunct.
b.
 
EDELMAN¶S BIOLOGICAL THEORY ASPECTS OF QUALITATIVECONSCIOUSNESS: A COMPUTER SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE.
E
delman develops a biological theory of consciousness. The theory for primaryconsciousness can be summed up by four main points:
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Self and non-Self components.
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V
alue-category memory.
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Real time, in parallel and for each sensory modality.

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