Political Self-awareness, Autonomy, and Sovereignty

  • Karl W. Deutsch
Part of the Pioneers in Arts, Humanities, Science, Engineering, Practice book series (PAHSEP, volume 25)


In an earlier section it was noted that goal images could be stored in a goal-seeking system and that such stored information could then be applied to the further behavior of the system. We then made this notion more general, and distinguished two classes of messages or symbols, primary and secondary, that may move through a decision system. Primary messages were taken to be those referring to events outside the system; and secondary i were taken to be those referring to primary messages, or secondary messages up to any level of regress. In terms of a message, we said, a decision system might ‘know’ of an external fact; by means of secondary messages it would ‘know’ that it ‘knows.’ This, it was suggested, is perhaps the most simple pattern of what is called consciousness.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl W. Deutsch
    • 1
  1. 1.PragueCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations