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ITOE, Ch. 1; Consciousness as a state of awareness

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AndrewSternberg
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The first sentence in the first paragraph of the first chapter of ITOE states:

Consciousness, as a state of awareness, is not a passive state, but an active process that consists of two essentials: differentiation and integration.

I am focusing specifically on the part, "Consciousness, as a state of awareness". Why does AR choose to say it this way? Is there a consciousness, as something else?

My thinking is this:

A very general model for the functioning of the mind could be as follows:

Input ---> Processing --> Output

“Input” represents sense-perception; “Processing” represents volitional integration of sense-perception into concepts; “Output” represents all consciously directed physical action as a product of one’s ideas/concepts.

If this model holds up (something that should also be discussed), then I view the phrase “Consciousness as a state of awareness” as isolating the input and processing stages of this model, and distinguishing it from the output stage.

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The first sentence in the first paragraph of the first chapter of ITOE states:

I am focusing specifically on the part, "Consciousness, as a state of awareness".  Why does AR choose to say it this way?  Is there a consciousness, as something else?

I don't believe Miss Rand meant "a state of awareness as opposed to something else." She was merely highlighting a state of the faculty of awareness from the faculty itself. This is common usage in the Objectivist literature. She clarifies this usage in the Appendix:

There is no such thing as a state of consciousness without the person experiencing it. What does one mean by "state of consciousness"? A state of a faculty possessed by an entity. Consciousness is not a primary object, it is not an independent existent, it's an attribute of a certain kind of existents.

As to your model, I don't see how that is helpful here.

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Dictionary.com has the following entry for consciousness:

1. The state or condition of being conscious.

2. A sense of one's personal or collective identity

And for conscious:

1. Having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts. See Synonyms at aware.

2. Mentally perceptive or alert; awake: The patient remained fully conscious after the local anesthetic was administered.

3. Capable of thought, will, or perception: the development of conscious life on the planet.

4. Subjectively known or felt: conscious remorse.

5. Intentionally conceived or done; deliberate: a conscious insult; made a conscious effort to speak more clearly.

6. Inwardly attentive or sensible; mindful: was increasingly conscious of being watched.

7. Especially aware of or preoccupied with. Often used in combination: a cost-conscious approach to further development

I think it was just meant to deliniate precisely which definition was meant.

Your model is interesting, but I think the input-processing step is AUTOMATICALLY divorced from the output stage except in the case of reflexes; that's what volition is about. There are sometimes fads in psychology saying that input automatically leads to output, but that's a bunch of hooey.

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I don't believe Miss Rand meant "a state of awareness as opposed to something else." She was merely highlighting a state of the faculty of awareness from the faculty itself. This is common usage in the Objectivist literature. She clarifies this usage in the Appendix:

"A state of a faculty possessed by an entity". I don't know what this means. A faculty is just the ability to do something, in this case, "be aware". If so, then what does the "state of an ability" mean?

As to your model, I don't see how that is helpful here.

Are you saying my model is invalid? If so, why?

Regardless of what Miss Rand meant in her sentence, It nevertheless caused me to think about the various functions of the mind. And I still want to discuss this thought even if it is not directly connected to her original statment.

Is the mind the same thing as consciousness? Or is the mind simply the faculty to which consciousness is a state? (still wondering what a state of a faculty is)

The mind seems to do more than just "be consciousness" So I am inclined to keep these things seperate. As I understand it, the mind engages in basically two functions, thinking and acting. Consciousness is the state of mind responsible for thinking. Something else is the state of mind responsible for acting (physical action). What is that 'something'. Does a word already exist for it?

The purpose of my model was to separate out the different functions of the mind, and then pin-down the terminology that identifies each.

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...

Your model is interesting, but I think the input-processing step is AUTOMATICALLY divorced from the output stage except in the case of reflexes; that's what volition is about.  There are sometimes fads in psychology saying that input automatically leads to output, but that's a bunch of hooey.

I agree with this completely, which is why I made sure to include "volitional" in the processing stage.

And yes, reflexes bypass this progression since they are automatic. But since they are automatic, it is safe to exclude them from our discussion of epistemology which pertains only to non-automatic processes that must instead be initated by volition.

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I am focusing specifically on the part, "Consciousness, as a state of awareness".  Why does AR choose to say it this way?  Is there a consciousness, as something else?

I didn't think she was saying "counsciousness, as this opposed to that." I understood it more along the lines of "Since counsciousness is a state of awareness, it is not a passive state, etc."

Sort of like: "You, as a man, are not a four-legged animal, but a two-legged animal that posesses the faculty of reason."

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