Originally posted by sirnex
This idea is wrong though, have any of you bothered looking at what consciousness is? It is the same thing as saying self-aware, which is a mirror of
empathy. Qualities that all species on this planet have.
I think many of us, as philosophy junkies, have indeed bothered to look at consciousness with an eye to figuring out what it is.
We simply dont all agree on the definition of consciousness. Nor, even after consideration, do we all agree with your definition of consciousness. (
I speak for myself of course, but since I dont, ALL cannot)
In fact, "self awareness" is NOT a quality the "hard sciences" agree all animals share. In fact, they only attribute self awareness to dolphins,
Asian elephants, and a few primates including humans older than 18 months old. Not that I agree with that, but the tests they have decided show self
awareness, noticing when ones own image has been altered in a mirror AND making an examination of it, only those few species "pass."
Science cannot show with that test, for instance if an animal notices their changed or altered image and chooses to ignore it as insignificant, as my
cat does when I choose to stick bows on his head for my own bestial amusement during the Christmas season. I think the test is poorly constructed,
but that is the test they are using, and many agree with it as a great indicator.
I am personally quite certain other animals have self awareness, but that is not accepted by the scientific community at large.
However, to confuse matters even further, when I use the term Consciousness, I am not referring to the thinking mind that can reflect on itself. I am
talking to the "watching" or "observing" portion of the mind that precedes thought. I separate the two.
It seems to me that many of the posters do share your opinion that the "thinking mind" is the equivalent to "consciousness," but perhaps not all
One nice, or maddening, thing about philosophy, is that there is little agreement on a lot of issues, and much debate. I personally like that aspect
of it, I like having to hear other opinions and try them on for size mentally. Sometimes, it changes my own mind. When it does not, it at the very
least helps me understand where my own argument for my point of view is weak and needs improvement.
Edit to add;
Empathy, btw, is not the same as self awareness.
Empathy is the capacity to recognize or understand another's state of mind or emotion. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself
into another's shoes", or to in some way experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself.
It is, in a sense, a step above self awareness. You can not only be aware of your own thoughts and feelings, but also entertain the thoughts and
feelings of others.
[edit on 28-8-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]