Consciousness comes from the Latin word “conscientia” which means “knowledge-within” or knowledge that is shared. Today the term is used to describe the experience of “self” as distinct from the external environment. It is characterized by experiences of alertness, self-awareness, and attention of oneself relative to the environment relative to the self, i.e., identify, which in turn involves awareness of one’s own perceptions, associations, emotional experience, and the cognitive interpretation of these experiences. More narrowly, consciousness is often defined as level of arousal, wakefulness, alertness, responsiveness, and adaptability in contrast to states of coma or sleep.
However, consciousness has defied unitary definition, perhaps because it is intrinsically bound to subjective experience.
The nature of human consciousness has been a primary topic of philosophical inquiry...
References and Readings
- Damasio, A. R. (2000). The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making of consciousness. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
- Dennett, D. (1991). Consciousness explained. Boston: Little & Company.Google Scholar
- Harlow, J. M. (1868). Recovery from the passage of an iron bar through the head. Publications of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 2, 327–347.Google Scholar
- McClelland, J. L., Cohen, J. D., & Schooler, J. W. (1997). The neural basis of consciousness and explicit memory: Reflections on Kihlstrom, Mandler and Rumelhart. In Scientific approaches to consciousness (pp. 499–509). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Rumelhart, D. E., McClelland, J. E., & the PDP Research Group. (1986). Parallel distributed processing: Explorations in the miccrostructure of cognition, vol. 1: Foundations. Cambridge, MA: Bradford/MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Shallice, T. (1978). The dominant action system: An information processing approach to consciousness. In K. S. Pope & J. L. Singer (Eds.), The stream of consciousness: Scientific investigations into the flow of experience. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Wundt, W. (1902). Outlines of psychology (Trans., 2nd ed.). Engelmann: Oxford.Google Scholar