For example, a stonemason sees in a stone a future product, a blacksmith in metal – a future thing.
Consciousness as a form of reflection of reality is endowed with the ability only to reproduce and recombine existing forms of existence. It should be recognized that for some sciences (biology, psychology) the theory of reflection proved to be effective. But when applied to the processes of consciousness, it raises many serious questions, such as:
If consciousness is a conscious being, then thanks to what is consciousness itself possible? From what special position can consciousness evaluate, measure reality, if it is only a moment of reflection of some material processes in others? Why can the arguments of consciousness (its ideas, principles) sometimes be stronger than the force of physical reality? What reflection needs can explain the fact that the human brain is potentially capable of containing all the information available in the universe in terms of its information capacity? Where did the ability of consciousness not to reflect, not to combine, but to think reality, that is, to introduce into acts of consciousness that no one has ever seen and in principle can not see (eg, being, substance, ideal circle, etc.)? Finally, if consciousness arose as a result of evolution (both organisms and forms of reflection), then what made evolution move in the direction of consciousness?
All these questions cannot be ignored in the philosophical study of consciousness. So, let’s ask the first question: on what grounds can we confidently say that consciousness really exists? Are there any such signs? This question can be answered in the affirmative.
The first sign of consciousness can be considered a special type of human behavior. We can call it “non-biological”, because man acts not only under the pressure of life’s needs, not only in the direction of finding ways to satisfy them; it does not operate according to the “stimulus-reaction” scheme, but sometimes (and quite often) – contrary to biological expediency and self-preservation (for example, in cases of self-sacrifice, suicide, etc.). Human activity, as outlined in previous sections, becomes an amateur, it introduces a person to a fundamentally different, compared to biological, type of behavior.
The non-biological type of human behavior is evidenced by both the direction and content of human actions: they are carried out on the basis of socio-cultural processes using artificial tools and livelihoods that man has created himself. All these means seem to be new, but for man – the most important environment of his life, they seem to lengthen and strengthen his natural organs.
It is through the use of such means that man acts differently, not according to a biological scheme: even he eats and sleeps in a completely different way than animals do. The first section explains that man does not genetically inherit the skills to use these things, so without knowledge and understanding, neither the creation of culture nor the use of its components would be impossible. In addition, based on their knowledge and understanding, a person can determine the purpose of such things that he has never seen, and create those that have not been.
Related to this is objectivity as an important feature of consciousness: with the help of the mind a person is able to see what, in fact, does not exist in its present form. For example, a stonemason sees in a stone a future product, a blacksmith in metal – a future thing. When we hold the text in front of us, we see a light surface with marks, but we see something fundamentally different behind it.
The fly crawling on the painter’s painting is not excited by what is behind the paints and canvas; it is available only to a person gifted with consciousness. The functioning of consciousness is associated with a special substantive content of reality, which is not given to us by the senses, but developed on the basis of experience in the historical process of socio-cultural life.
Hence – the purposeful nature of conscious activity: the ability of consciousness to create images of future (necessary) results of their actions and then direct their actions to what in the finished form, that is – in fact, does not exist. And often it is not about the non-existent here and now, but in general. Hence, the law of human activity is its conditionality not by what acts on man from the outside, but by what is produced by his consciousness. Therefore, when evaluating human activity, it is important to take into account not only its result, but also its intentions, purpose. This, in particular, manifests the creative nature of human consciousness.
When considering the signs of consciousness, we cannot avoid the question: how can a person prove the existence in his consciousness of something that does not exist? First of all, by real actions, real creation of new things: when a master teaches a student, he often not so much tells him the “theory” of his own actions, but simply involves him in activities, actions demonstrate his experience. However, this can only be done in the case of relatively simple business processes; in other cases, it is necessary to have special means to convey the substantive content of consciousness, which can not be directly demonstrated.
Such means are signs (or, more broadly – sign activity), among which the most important role belongs to language (especially – speech). Language is the first and most obvious sign of consciousness; it was on the basis of language that ancient people distinguished man from animal, and “their” people from “Germans”. Thus, the need for language is related to the need to capture the content that cannot be conveyed by a simple demonstration of things. From this it becomes clear that language becomes the main carrier of historical experience (a certain person, a certain people, a certain culture).
Finally, the great miracle of consciousness is that, although it is not recorded by any devices and indicators, it is able to record itself. This unique ability is called self-awareness or self-reflection of human consciousness (or thought). We can even say that we do not need any devices – it is enough to pay our conscious attention to what is happening inside our mental processes in order to be convinced of the real existence of consciousness.
However, for this one must be human and be in the human way of being; that is, we can say that for a person (developed, formed) the question of the existence or non-existence of consciousness arises as a question of its self-identification, and, of course, what is not in the human way of being , such self-identification (ie internal fixation of consciousness) not capable.
In the self-reflection of consciousness manifests itself the moment of substantiality of consciousness, ie the moment that consciousness for its existence does not need any external reinforcements or evidence that it finds in itself its own “first” (or “last”) obviousness, which, in the end, and enables a person to become a subject of cognition and activity, ie to produce his own active activity from himself and from himself. Related to this is the ability of consciousness to evaluate reality, to judge it, but we will address this ability in the following questions.
Thus, consciousness has unique properties that make it impossible to directly study and measure; however, the original signs of consciousness allow us to assert its real existence, but in special qualities and characteristics.
The problem of the origin of consciousness. The peculiarity of philosophical analysis of consciousness is to reveal its existential roots, the most important features, properties and functions. All these problems are often dependent on the historical analysis of consciousness, and the latter involves the recognition that consciousness once arises and undergoes certain changes in the development of society.
Therefore, the philosophical problems of consciousness include, first of all, the problem of its origin; this should be clear in general terms, at least because we often, trying to understand something, look for its roots, that is, we turn to the question of its origin. Addressing the problem of the origin of consciousness involuntarily raises the question: is not this problem identical to the problem of the origin of man, or at least a partial manifestation of it?
As we will see later, these problems – the origin of man and the origin of consciousness – do have a lot in common, and there is a certain intersection, but there are also differences. For example, the anatomical and genetic relationship of man with higher animals directs the search for human roots towards natural evolution, but the very significant difference between human consciousness and the intellectual actions of animals and even psychological processes makes the question of consciousness considered separately. And the emphasis here is on something else: what characteristics, uncharacteristic of other types of reality, consciousness has and how these characteristics affect human behavior.
Modern philosophy (and science) can not give a definitive and unequivocal solution to the problem of the origin of consciousness, but the current authoritative concepts of the origin of consciousness help to shed light on this problem and understand much in its solution. Such concepts include: theological, dualistic, evolutionary, labor, the theory of a single information field and substantial. Consider their main theses, noting at the same time the advantages and disadvantages of each concept.
The religious concept states that man’s consciousness is a gift of God: in creating man, God “breathed into him a living spirit,” thus endowing man with a share of divine light. In fact, human consciousness with its very first properties is already a consequence of the fall of Scripture: it is because of him that man began to distinguish between good and evil, and, consequently, began to perceive reality not in whole, but in part , in fragments.
At the same time, the presence in the depths of consciousness of a share of the divine determines the human desire for the highest, the ability to know the truth, and so on. An unconditional positive aspect of the theological concept is that it reduces human consciousness to the transcendent, absolute, higher, does not limit its aspects of human existence and survival. However, it ignores the connection of consciousness with the human body, social history, information. literacy narrative topic ideas In addition, it does not, in fact, explain the origin of consciousness, but only why it is inherent in man.
The dualistic concept emphasizes the moments of radical difference between consciousness and material-sensory reality, which is open to man, and concludes that there are two kinds of phenomena (or two substances) in the world – material and ideal.