I wasn't sure whether to include this in Philosophy or Science, but decided on the latter because, ultimately, I'd like to be see variable evidence.
Consciousness or Sentience, as well as the concept of the "Mind" are terms that we attribute to our personality, our perception of the world. We also often use these terms, especially Sentience, to differentiate between us and the rest of the animal world.
To my knowledge, however, neither Psychology nor Neuroscience has yet to understand what specifically forms out personality and whether there is such a thing as consciousness. If we study human evolution, we'll observe that there never was a point our development when we can say that humans all of a sudden became conscious. It was a gradual process, that can be seen in slowly enlarging cranium capacities and ever more sophisticated usage of various tools; as in, the difference between Achaeulian and Oldowan tool types, for instance.
It would be interesting to read a medical paper on this. Until then, I am inclined to believe that we are simply much smarter than other animals and that there is no such thing as consciousness or sentience. Other animals are as much conscious as we are, but their perception is limited by lower level of intelligence.
What do you think?
Well, I would say there are several ways of perceiving consciousness. Here are the ones I am familiar with:
1. Nothing exists except consciousness - e.g., the idealistic pantheism of much of Hinduism. This idea seems non-parsimonious but if true I would not have any problem with it.
2. Consciousness is total illusion. Well, I think that might be going too far, unnecessarily.
3. There is a real and existing dualism of consciousness and matter, with the former being eternal and timeless and creating the latter, for whatever reason. E.g., monotheism. I think this is very non-parsimonious. I would need to see some real evidence to even consider this a plausible idea.
4. Consciousness is a secondary phenomenon, arising or evolving out of a material universe - being more of a verb than a noun - and dependent upon the prior existence of the material. It seems that no scientific observation or experiment has offered any refutation of this possibility, and science is utterly compatible with it. So this is my personal pragmatic choice, or working theory of existence. I leave the burden to prove otherwise to others. And good luck with that, others. LOL.
It depends on how you define consciousness. If you mean self awareness, I think it arose as we evolved to be social beings. We began to think about how others reacted to what we did, and how we behaved toward them. Im sure lower animals are aware of themselves, but they don't consider themselves "Living" because the never needed to form relationships beyond food and sex, so never had any reason to think much of other members of their species. ( Don't know how this would apply to pack animals.)
If you define it as thinking, I believe its the brains best guess at making sense of the information its being fed. It takes the information, forms a picture and then forms conclusions.
I think personalities arise because of how we learned (Genetically and developmentally) to react to certain situations. As a child, If we were raised in an environment that everyone is rude, we learn that that is the acceptable way to react, and that leaves an imprint on us.
when i was reading the magic of reality by Richard Dawkins, i really admired his view of Philosophy and his way of explaining Evolution. Consciousness perhaps is one of the most important and questions human kind ever have faced. so many people have many definitions, when seeing the development of science i am confident that we will one day be able to understand the complexity of the brain and what Consciousness really is, whatsoever i found this article recently on the internet which describes about human condition and Consciousness.
The best model for consciousness is a neurological feedback circuit within the brain. Ordinarily we think of consciousness as awareness of external stimuli, but such awareness occurs to some extent even with people who are unconscious. We've all experienced being awakened from deep sleep by a noise or a light turned on. Unconscious patients in hospitals show they still experience pain by groans when they are moved.
In a conscious state, the brain is aware of its own activity; in unconsciousness it is not. This has been verified by recent electroencephalograph experiments. The results are preliminary, but interesting.
Consciousness is simply our awareness of self and non-self (the material world). In fact our awareness is extremely narrow – most of it is filled in by previous experiences. At best our short term memory can retain no more than 7 items and our memories are only marginally reliable. The bulk of our behavior, including our supposition of “free will”, is governed by our unconscious mind. That reinforces the idea that we have “free will” because we don't know what the unconscious mind is doing and dictating.