Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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A_Seagull
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Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by A_Seagull » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:13 am

Is there a difference between consciousness and self-awareness? If so what?

To some degree self-consciousness can be observed or measured in others, but is this the same as consciousness?

And if consciousness is not the same as self-awareness, then what is the difference?

What do you think?

grayson
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by grayson » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:01 am

Consciousness is the awareness of one's body and one's environment.
Self-awareness is the recognition of that consciousness—not only understanding that one exists, but further understanding that one is aware of one's existence.
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Last edited by grayson on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:50 am, edited 13 times in total.

ForCruxSake
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by ForCruxSake » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:51 am

A_Seagull wrote:Is there a difference between consciousness and self-awareness? If so what?

To some degree self-consciousness can be observed or measured in others, but is this the same as consciousness?

And if consciousness is not the same as self-awareness, then what is the difference?

What do you think?
I think 'consciousness' is the state of perceiving one's environment, that which lays outside the self. 'Self-awareness' is the state where one can be the object of one's own attention, with an understanding that it is themselves of which they are aware. I only qualify it in this way because a baby, or possibly a cat, can take in their reflection in a mirror without knowing they are looking at themselves.*

I'm pretty certain very young children lack self awareness. It seems to kick in, in a more meaningful way, at around 7-8 years of age. They begin to self monitor and, based on that, judge and turn on other children. Prior to that most behaviour is learned by copying the 'rule establisher' (parents, nannies, teachers), who establish by repetition.They are driven by consumption/desire: the need to eat, sleep, play with certain toys, they must have and will fight over. To get them to understand what, and why, they have done wrong takes time and is linked to a growing sense of self-awareness that develops over time. It is after the self awareness kicks in that you get a child who learns to self-govern through self-awareness.

It's odd how the term 'self-consciousness' differs, in a 'dramatic' way, from 'consciousness' or 'self-awareness'. It's a term that suggests acute self-awareness in a painful way, having picked up a negative semantic connotation, linked to shyness or low self-esteem.


( * In the 1970's, psychologist Gordon Gallup Jnr, developed the 'mirror test' (sometimes called the 'mark test' or the 'mirror self-recognition test'). It was a behavioural technique developed to determine whether animals possessed the ability to 'self-recognise' themselves. In the original test, an animal, was anaesthetised and then marked, e.g. painted, or a sticker attached, on an area of the body. On waking, and being placed in front of a mirror, if the animal's attention was drawn to the mark, it was taken as an indication that the animal perceived the reflected image as itself, rather than that of another animal.

Very few species have passed the MSR test. To date, only humans, great apes, a single Asiatic elephant, dolphins, orcas, and the Eurasian magpie have passed the MSR test. Many animals have been reported to fail the test, including giant pandas, sea lions, dogs and several species of monkey.

The MSR test continues to be the traditional method for attempting to establish, and measure, self-awareness, although its reliability has been questioned.)

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A_Seagull
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by A_Seagull » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:19 am

It seems to me that self-awareness is something that can be observed by outsiders. It can be 'measured' to some degree.

Consciousness is perhaps more the sensation of self awareness. It would seem to be something that is an inherent feature of the universe and yet one that is distinct from all other physical features.

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Greta
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Greta » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:04 am

ForCruxSake wrote:I'm pretty certain very young children lack self awareness. It seems to kick in, in a more meaningful way, at around 7-8 years of age. They begin to self monitor and, based on that, judge and turn on other children. Prior to that most behaviour is learned by copying the 'rule establisher' (parents, nannies, teachers), who establish by repetition.
This seems an underestimation. For instance, even the average predator shows self awareness when it avoids being seen; it is aware of itself in context with another mind, that of its prey. I see consciousness as wakefulness, unconsciousness as sleep or dormancy. Of course dormancy is relative, so there is still much activity and at least some sensing going on, even when we are asleep.

I've wondered about the mirror test as per the quote in your post. I suspect that, at least for some species, expecting them to respond to a reflection is like expecting humans to respond to having their own smell wafted back at them. We might even notice our own odour, but would probably not care enough to react. Dogs in front of mirrors seem similar. Humans, dolphins and apes can smell, but their major focus is visual. Dogs can see but their focus is deeply olfactory; it is their main engagement with the world. If you reflect a dog's own odour back at it you'd probably get a different result.

I just Googled for an experiment of that ilk and it seems that my intense behavioural study of the pooches at home is paying off :lol: http://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-offici ... sciousness
ForCruxSake wrote:They are driven by consumption/desire: the need to eat, sleep, play with certain toys, they must have and will fight over. To get them to understand what, and why, they have done wrong takes time and is linked to a growing sense of self-awareness that develops over time. It is after the self awareness kicks in that you get a child who learns to self-govern through self-awareness.
That seems to be the next step after self awareness - self understanding, which could be thought of as self awareness over time. One of humanity's greatest differences with other species would seem to be the depth of our understanding of the past and future.

ForCruxSake
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by ForCruxSake » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:24 pm

Greta wrote:
ForCruxSake wrote: It is after the self awareness kicks in that you get a child who learns to self-govern through self-awareness.
That seems to be the next step after self awareness - self understanding, which could be thought of as self awareness over time. One of humanity's greatest differences with other species would seem to be the depth of our understanding of the past and future.
Good post, nicely rounded off. Much enjoyed.

(Original post cut tidily short, as I'm convinced we litter the Internet with endless repetitions of posts!)

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Greta
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Greta » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:23 pm

ForCruxSake wrote:Good post, nicely rounded off. Much enjoyed.

(Original post cut tidily short, as I'm convinced we litter the Internet with endless repetitions of posts!)
Cheers Crux. I agree that often not enough thought is put into how much of a quote is needed to maintain continuity without excess clutter.

To be fair, I've created much clutter in the past through excess pointless detail and digressions so it's all a learning curve, one way or another.

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