10 Problems With Consciousness Psychology Today
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- Some parts or domains might include sensory qualia (the fundamental elements of experience), perceptual wholes, drives or urges, emotional feeling states, imaginative wonderings, self-talk, thought, or logical analyses.
- This relates to the language game and the parts and levels Problems, but it specifically refers to our working map of the territory or domains that make up Consciousness.
- ane such map is Freud’s topographical model that divides the concept up into the conscious, preconscious (i.e., memory), and unconscious domains.
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Because Consciousness is such a pervasive concept, the language game we use is crucial to how we come to understand it. Consider that, as this Great class notes, most Western language systems give us vocabulary that sets us up to make a choice between (a) some form of Materialism or Physicalism versus (b) some form of Mentalism or Idealism or (c) Dualism, which is some kind of combination. eastern philosophical traditions do not necessarily divide the world up this way. The language game problem includes how we talk about physical relative to mental causation and other relationships between matter and mind (e.g., reductionism versus emergence; primary versus secondary qualities, etc.). I think the language game problem is, in some ways, the most fundamental. Central to the book I am writing is the claim that we need a new language game to help define the concepts of behavior, mind, and Consciousness. I argue that my unified theory/approach provides a new language game to solve these issues (see, e.g., here for behavior, here for mind, and here for Consciousness) two The Worldview Problem. This relates to the language game problem, but specifically pertains to one’s overall conception and picture of reality. There are three broad worldviews pertaining to Consciousness. One is the supernatural view. A version of this is the christian view that there is a dimension of reality that exists separate from the natural world and connects to Consciousness in that each person has a soul from that supernatural world, which, is given to the body at some point after conception and upon death, separates from the body and returns to the other heavenly plane. another worldview is the mystical or paranormal view, which argues that the standard science vision for how energy, matter, information, and the mind operate is wrong and that there is a dimension of mind or Consciousness that is not brain based and plays a causal role in the world in a way that is very different from current models of natural science. Dawson Church’s recent book Mind to Matter is based on a mystical worldview. Finally, there is the standard, natural philosophy view. Although there are many variations of a naturalistic view, they reside within the assumptions of natural philosophy. three The Various States of Consciousness Problem. When we talk about Consciousness in a basic way, we talk about being fully awake versus being in a deep sleep or a coma. We can also identify dreaming as a kind of state of Consciousness, and lucid (self-conscious) dreaming an even more specific state. There are also all the altered states of Consciousness, some of which are pathological, such as psychotic episodes involving hallucinations and delusions. There are also unusual or spiritual states of revelation or awakening. The basic point here is that we must consider fluctuations in states of Consciousness and notions about normal versus altered states. four The Parts and Layering of Awareness Problem. This refers to the structural issues associated with what makes up Consciousness—and was the focus of early psychologists like Wundt. Some parts or domains might include sensory qualia (the fundamental elements of experience), perceptual wholes, drives or urges, emotional feeling states, imaginative wonderings, self-talk, thought, or logical analyses. To get a sense of these contents, here is a book on people's inner states. In addition to Consciousness having different parts, there are good reasons to suppose that we can think of it as a "layering" process of attention and awareness. For example, virtually all of us have had the experience of driving down the road and thinking of other things such that we were not conscious of the road. But what does that mean to say we were not conscious of the road? Clearly, if someone put a blindfold on us, we quickly would realize there was a problem. Thus, we were “seeing” the road at one level of awareness. But we were not aware of being aware of our sensory-perceptual world because our focus was elsewhere. This means we need to consider the concept of awareness, which as the dictionary notes, overlaps substantially with the concept of Consciousness. It also means we need to consider awareness occurring at various levels. five The Topographical Problem. This relates to the language game and the parts and levels Problems, but it specifically refers to our working map of the territory or domains that make up Consciousness. ane such map is Freud’s topographical model that divides the concept up into the conscious, preconscious (i.e., memory), and unconscious domains. Freud’s model is a start, but it is not sufficient.
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