Death and Resurrection of a Disciplined Science of Consciousness

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Abstract:

The Latin conscius does not translate anything like mind or consciousness. Only in the mid-nineteenth century do we find the first attempts to study consciousness as its own discipline. Wundt, James, and Freud disagreed about how to approach the science of consciousness, although agreeing that psychology was a 'science of consciousness' that takes lived biological experience as its object. The behaviorists vetoed this idea. By the 1950s, for cognitive science, mind (conscious and unconscious) was considered analogous to computer software. Recently, the science of consciousness has returned as Consciousness Studies, a new interdisciplinary synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and cultural anthropology. But what is new in this renaissance of the science of consciousness? New first, second and third person approaches all propose to take consciousness itself as a variable. This approach is as controversial as the nineteenth-century science of consciousness--controversy perhaps inherent to any science of consciousness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. Human Development and Applied Psychology, OISE/ University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Str. W., Toronto, ON (M5S 1V6), Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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