Universal foundations

Universal Foundations of Consciousness

What is consciousness? The question subsumes many important turns. Here, much more than anywhere else, one cannot be content with sheer definitions, since, with every insight in the nature of consciousness, we change the object of our study, and one would speak not about definition, but rather determination (or self-determination) of consciousness, in the broadest sense. Understanding what consciousness is implies understanding the very ability to understand, and one has to also ask how consciousness happens to be reflected in itself, and what it is for.

Primarily, one could apply to the human ability to intuitively distinguish conscious action from physical dynamics, or conditioned behavior?however spurious this distinction may seem in humans. This is the first, immediate determination of consciousness. When this primitive vision is combined with a particular kind of creativity, one would produce either the vivid patterns of art, or the analytical constructions of science, or an ideologically saturated philosophical category. Eventually, these abstractions of consciousness become instantiated in various cultural forms, becoming the practical determination of consciousness, its self-reproduction (and development) in human activity.

In a philosophical study, the ontology of consciousness is to be touched first of all, to determine the place of consciousness and subjectivity in the hierarchy of the world. This will uncover the roots of consciousness in the non-conscious forms of material motion, and the universal necessity of consciousness formation. Considering consciousness as a specific object, along with any other objects, will stress the unity of the world and overcome a wide-spread tendency of opposing consciousness to the rest of the world and declaring it to be utterly different from all the natural phenomena, supernatural. It is important to both indicate how conscious behavior differs from non- conscious existence, and demonstrate that consciousness is not alien to the world and merely continues the line of material development, always requiring a material substrate of a special kind. Also, one is to determine, what is the difference between consciousness and subjectivity, and how they are interrelated.

As an immediate consequence of this ontological determination, one comes to the universal principles of the inner organization of consciousness, and its general features that do not depend on a particular form of consciousness, or a specific aspect of its manifestation. Numerous hierarchical structures and systems can be found in consciousness, all of them reflecting certain essential moments of its existence.

Finally, one grows to the understanding of the historical nature of consciousness, and considers its development through a sequence of objectively necessary stages and forms, which later become the levels of its internal hierarchy. One has to explain how it happens that some living creatures develop consciousness with time, while some other don't. The historical growth of consciousness, and its unfolding from the most primitive to the higher forms, is to later become a general direction of individual development, ontogenesis.

[Philosophy of consciousness] [Philosophy] [Unism]