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Understanding the human consciousness

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  1. Introduction
  2. Existence of animal existence
    1. Lack of thinking ability of animals
    2. The 'conscience' animal is comparable to the one of man?
  3. The specificity of human consciousness
    1. The discovery of the cogito
    2. Cartesian dualism
  4. Consciousness can it be defined solely from brain activity?
    1. The study of brain lessions
    2. Consciousness beyond the brain activity
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Human consciousness can be apprehended only from within as a concrete experience constantly present in all of us, it is not yet possible to give an objective definition. This is not something outside us that we can identify and analyze in neutrality, it necessarily refers us to a subjective experience of the most obvious and immediate. The etymology of the Latin word scientia cum means "with knowledge" that underscores the ability of the human mind that I am, if not always, at least in most cases this myself and my activities when I think and act.

But is that enough to make consciousness a characteristic of the man? Animals show through their behavior, that they are also experiencing this self-presence and the world. Do not they have an immediate awareness of what happens in them and off them with feelings and perceptions? The contemporary ethnologists do not question the existence of intelligence and a form of animal subjectivity. Should we really say that we can put on the same level of human consciousness and animal? The reflection is it not the hallmark of human consciousness?

[...] The traditional opposition between human consciousness and the instinctive life of the animal is in question. For Buytendijk, the behavior of the animal provides access to its subjectivity. The Dutch psychologist said it is probably unrealistic to look for definitive and explicit criteria to highlight the existence of consciousness in animals. It does not even draft such a field of science. [ . ] But these difficulties in defining consciousness in animals no way exclude the presence of intelligence, the agency, which is not superimposed on that of the machine. [...]


[...] Quite the contrary, the state of consciousness accompanied by an opening problem on itself and the world throws human existence in the questioning and the search for meaning. Being yourself and being in the world does not come naturally to the subject. Consciousness does not merely accompany the thoughts and actions in a relationship of proximity; it paradoxically brought a distancing between us and ourselves, we and the world. We and the original experience of a split or separation in which we are simply in the world, a thing among things, living among the living but we exist before the world. [...]


[...] Only neurological processes are the explanatory principles, consciousness can be reduced to its components themselves purely physical and tangible. The laws of conscience are ultimately reducible to those of the brain, even that would do more complex expressions. How to understand the functioning of consciousness? The working hypothesis of Changeux is to identify mental events with physical events, involving brain areas of the brain and specific groups of neurons. Human behavior and internal processes of consciousness are then mechanically explicable. [...]

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