Blute Blog

Blute's blog about evolutionary theory: biological, sociocultural and gene-culture.

Posts Tagged ‘consciousness

What is Consciousness?

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I recently purchased book, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Consciousness by a neuroscientist, Patrick House, published by St Martin’s Press in 2022. No, I am not going to review it here (and maybe or maybe not here, later or elsewhere) because I have not read it yet but I am looking forward to reading it. But before I do, I thought I would write down what I suspect consciousness is.

To put it briefly, consciousness is not a unitary phenomenon, a thing, it is an ecosystem of thoughts, the objects of which are other thoughts.

For a little more explanation, I prefer to speak of actions rather than behaviours because they normally have objects (and that includes perceptions as well) – e.g. I pick up a cup, see a neighbour, cross the street, hear a horn etc. These objects can include yourself e.g. I comb my hair, hear myself cough etc. In the beginning, a neuron or coupled group fires or is induced to fire, which causes other neurons to fire, which cause others to fire, eventually resulting in a pattern of muscular and/or glandular activity – an action. However, some cease before that, i.e. do not result in an action – these are thoughts. Thoughts too can have objects – I can think of picking up a cup etc. But some thoughts have a different kind of object – other thoughts – and the ecosystem of these constitutes consciousness or as some would call it self consciousness or self awareness.

Written by Marion Blute

April 24, 2023 at 3:39 pm

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