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Danielle's picture

Defining Consciousness...


            I have been thinking about a good definition of consciousness, and after our class discussion I have come to the conclusion that there are many ways to define consciousness. I think the definition of consciousness differs according to the context. The consciousness of a particular person at any given moment is different than the consciousness of a person interacting with another person. Consciousness at any given moment is driven by behavior within the surrounding environment. Our consciousness is driven by behavioral choices that change on a daily basis. Repeated behavioral choices evolve into habits which I think are not conscious behaviors. As someone brought up in class, habits are unconscious behavioral choices and to get rid of habits a person must be conscious of these behavioral choices. Overall, I think consciousness can be defined by a person’s interaction with the ever changing and ever evolving environment.

            I think that interactions between two people require another definition of consciousness. In this case, consciousness involves a social and emotional connection between two people, which is driven by language. This definition of consciousness allows us to understand why pet owners consider their pets to be conscious. I think that we associate consciousness with social and emotional language. Animals communicate with their owners via language, verbal and physical, such as barking or wagging of the tale, and these behavioral cues make animals conscious. Human consciousness, similar to animal consciousness, requires language. For a person to be conscious they need to be communicating in some form to another person. This is why people in comas are considered unconscious, because they cannot communicate with the language needed to be considered conscious and usually do not express any form of social or emotional language.






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