Consciousness Essay

1983 words - 8 pages

Most people would think of consciousness to be their inner thoughts or the awareness one has of themselves and their surroundings. My Introduction to Psychology textbook defines consciousness as,” the subjective experience of perceiving oneself and ones surroundings.” (Kalat, 2011, p.342). According to Oxford dictionary it can be defined in philosophy as “The state or faculty of being conscious, as a condition and concomitant of all thought, feeling, and volition; the recognition by the thinking subject of its own acts or affections” (Schwarz, 2004, p.425). Those are definitions are similar but how can we be sure we have knowledge of what Consciousness is? Epistemology has to deal with the nature of knowledge and if we can have it justifiably without a doubt (Cowan and Spiegel, 2009, p.49) So for the purposes of this paper consciousness is going to be referred to as a belief that can be proved true or proved false, believed in or rejected. This belief of consciousness will be looked at epistemologically in which I will explore it through a skeptical, rational, and empiricist view in attempts to understand whether we are conscious or have knowledge of it.
I said earlier how epistemology asks us if we can really know anything without doubt. Well that “doubt” is called skepticism. Skepticism is the view that we cannot truly know anything or our knowledge is limited (Cowan and Spiegel, 2009, p.50). For example, I could say that I know that my Xbox 360 is in my room right now and when I get home it will be there. However, I do not know that my mom has decided that today will be the day she cleans out each room for spring cleaning. That means she takes my Xbox 360 out of my room and puts in the dining room. Also in the back of my mind on my way home I think about how my mom mentioned cleaning at some point this month but dismiss the idea. When I find out my Xbox is not in my room, did I actually have knowledge of it being there? Even if I got home and the Xbox was there I could not have been completely sure of that it was. What if it wasn’t even my Xbox and it was just an identical one. Skepticism is how we cannot be completely sure of the things we know or think we know. Do not misunderstand me with this and think “Do I exist?” because one of the few things we can be sure of is that “I think, therefore I am”. However, if I know that I exist, do I also know if I possess consciousness?
The context of the psychology definition of consciousness from the first paragraph, views the belief consciousness from a reductionist standpoint. This standpoint reduces consciousness to neurobiological processes such as the firing of neurons in the brain. That is only what your brain perceives as your own bodily functions, senses, and mind in respect to your environment. A skeptic would ask then how do you know for sure you are perceiving what is happening if your limited to what the brain perceives? Or in other words, how do you know if what you are perceiving is the...

Find Another Essay On Consciousness

States of Consciousness Essay

898 words - 4 pages Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and all the things we think, feel, and do. We spend much of our lives in what is called walking consciousness, that is a state of clear, and organized alertness.A.What is Consciousness: Having a feeling or knowledge of your sensations, feelings or of external things. Knowing or feeling that something is or was happening or existing. Aware of oneself as a thinking being. (Webster's Unabridged Dictionary

Stream of consciousness Essay

1752 words - 7 pages ‘Stream of Consciousness’ is a technique, deployed by modernist writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, which is supposed to authentically document the mental process or to capture the ‘atmosphere of mind’. This technique is used to explore the inner reality or the psychic being of characters. Virginia Woolf makes use of this technique in her novel Mrs. Dalloway. For Woolf “life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us

Stream of Consciousness

648 words - 3 pages In Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Fräulein Else, the stream of consciousness narrative form creates a more in-depth portrait of Else’s mindset and thinking. Even though the narrative may seem contradictory and erratic at first, this is only a result of the more extensive portrayal of her mental process, which includes elements not present in a more conventional narrative. The path of Else’s thoughts is indirect and recursive, but this portrayal of

Explaining Subjective Consciousness

3990 words - 16 pages Explaining Subjective Consciousness I often ask myself, why me. There are billions of brains on this planet alone, and no one knows how many sentient beings exist in the galaxy, or in the entire universe. I share 99.8% of my DNA with chimps (if I remember well), and even more with any human on the planet. Granted, there is no brain that works _exactly_ like mine. But the differences seem trivial. Why must I be witness to the data

Consciousness: Our Portal to Fulfillment

1195 words - 5 pages Human culture expands rapidly and our concept of consciousness is rapidly evolving with it. Philosophers have filled the void concerning the true nature of consciousness not yet determined by science. Despite the subjective nature of consciousness, perceived by many to be a personal and private aspect of human existence, neurobiologists are investigating and measuring objective characteristics of introspective reasoning and associated elements

Consciousness and Intentionality of Action

2995 words - 12 pages Consciousness and Intentionality of Action ABSTRACT: One much discussed issue in contemporary philosophy is the relation between consciousness and intentionality. Philosophers debate whether consciousness and intentionality are somehow ‘connected’; whether we have reason to be more optimistic about an ‘objective,’ ‘scientific’ or ‘third person’ ‘account’ of intentionality than about an analogous account of consciousness. This paper is

Comparing the Unconscious and Consciousness

2057 words - 8 pages Comparing the Unconscious and Consciousness Consciousness and unconscious are two psychological terms that are commonly used in this field of study. Their importances mainly appear when psychologists deal with their patients because they will surely think about these two terms. To understand these two terms we must know their definitions. This step can enable us to recognize the difference between them. Consciousness is a

Black Reformation through Double Consciousness

2048 words - 8 pages Philosophical writer W.E.B. Du Bois provides a stimulating analysis of the importance of African American existence in a society that emphasizes white superiority and black inferiority. Du Bois introduces the idea of double consciousness, an ideology that defines African Americans seeking to reconcile two different cultures that create their modern identity. The application of this concept is important because discovering the identity of an

Hallucinations and the Human Consciousness

919 words - 4 pages Hallucinations and the Human Consciousness The idea of consciousness has been contemplated throughout the course of neurobiology and behavior. When does it begin or end? And what, precisely, is consciousness? Though researchers may only approximate the answers to these questions, a few things may be inferred. Since the subconscious mind is the sleeping mind, the conscious mind can be thought of as the awakened mind, the mind which shows

Pride and Prejudice : Class Consciousness

1301 words - 5 pages Originally written in the late 1700s, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice satirically depicts the universal ideals in Regency England, primarily regarding social class. Austen follows the development of an outspoken, middle-class British woman, Elizabeth Bennet, as she encounters and overcomes the many social barriers that separate her from her aristocratic neighbors. Throughout the novel, Lizzie must face society's class-consciousness

Nature in the Rastafarian Consciousness

3383 words - 14 pages Nature in the Rastafarian Consciousness Living in harmony with the environment and the laws of Nature is one of the central ideas of Rastafarianism. To live in accordance with the Earth is to live in accordance with Jah; it is incorporated into the morality that is Rastafarian consciousness. The Rasta's reverence for nature is influenced by the traditional African religions which are still practiced in Jamaica and which have also influenced

Similar Essays

Understanding Consciousness Essay

634 words - 3 pages Paloma MartinezThe Buddha & His WorldJanuary 28, 2014Understanding ConsciousnessThere are many definitions of consciousness. On a general, superficial view, it is awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts and surroundings. It is the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings and volition. However, a deeper investigation into the question of consciousness reveals much more complicated and mind twisting

Understanding Consciousness Essay

634 words - 3 pages Paloma MartinezThe Buddha & His WorldJanuary 28, 2014Understanding ConsciousnessThere are many definitions of consciousness. On a general, superficial view, it is awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts and surroundings. It is the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings and volition. However, a deeper investigation into the question of consciousness reveals much more complicated and mind twisting

Human Consciousness Essay

2580 words - 10 pages Technological developments assume an integral part of human history. In the recent years, studies indicate that the advances in technology have penetrated into the human way of life thus changing the daily life of people. One area of human life that has been affected by technology is the human consciousness (Halal, 2008). The emergence of new technologies has led to greater impact on the human form of consciousness. It is noted that information

Human Consciousness Essay

1786 words - 7 pages Human Consciousness Erich Fromm and Shirley Jackson have both written wonderful true-life affecting essays and should be awarded for them. I appreciate both stories and feel they both set tales to learn from and live by. As a combined theme for both I ‘ld say “human consciousness is more then a gift”. And read on to see what I mean. In Erich Fromm we notice a compassionate concern for the unfolding of life. Fromm claims that "the growing