Skip to main content

What Consciousness is: A Philopsophical Perspective

Consciousness means that a person is aware of something; consciousness is always of something and it is never of nothing. This statement is pivotal in understanding what consciousness is.
Awareness becomes consciousness when one identifies something as something. When one identifies a chair as a chair with a certain motive, assigning a certain meaning to it, one is said to be conscious of it. On the other hand a mere viewing of a chair as a part of a general background, not giving any meaning to it cannot be called consciousness.
Consciousness, if it does not have an object in the described manner, remains a potential. It is actualized when it becomes consciousness of something, some object, in the manner described above.
Some people say that to be conscious also means that one is aware of space and time. So according to this view those who are not in their proper wits actually are not aware of space and time.  This does not mean that they are not in space and time, and objects do not appear to them in space and time. It simply means that they cannot focus on space and time the way normal people can make them their object of consciousness, through assigning a meaning and value to them.
People who lose consciousness due to a disease cannot focus anything; they cannot simply recognize anything as a particular object. So a person who has lost his consciousness cannot recognize people and objects. If you ask such a person, showing him an object, what is this, when he is awake and his eyes are open, that person will not recognize that object. And this sign that the person is not conscious.
When a person is about to die , the first thing that leaves him is his consciousness, and that person cannot recognize even the dearest of his relatives and persons.
So, we can say that consciousness means to be aware of something, either inside one’s mind or outside. To be conscious of something does not entail that the object of consciousness necessarily has an outward existence. One can make fantastic or imaginary things, his object of consciousness. So one can say that he is aware of an angel, for he is thinking about an angel. Similarly one can make a unicorn his object of consciousness. Such things do not have a real existence but, philosophically speaking, only an intentional inexistence. Anything that becomes the object of our awareness or consciousness, and yet does not have any existence, is said to have an intentional inexistence. Such existence has a meaning and one has certain motives behind making nonexistent things his objects of consciousness.
Aristotle has described intentional inexistence in the context of sense perception. When our see something, according to Aristotle, it acquires the shape of that thing. So, if we see a car, our eye acquires the shape or form of that car and becomes like it. This acquired form has no matter or material part in it; therefore it has no real existence. Therefore such form is called existing intentionally, and having intentional in existence.

By: Khalid Jamil Rawat


Popular posts from this blog

IMAM GHAZALI: His General and Educational Philosophy

Introduction Imam Ghazali , the famous scholastic philosopher and thinker of the middle ages, was famous for his impact on Muslim intellectual history. Accordin to Allama Iqba, Islamic civilization saw three stages of development. The first stage was when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was alive and guiding the Muslim nation. This stage is termed as the age of faith, for believers had the source of truth, the prophet himself, with them, and the only thing required from them was to have faith in whatever prophet used to tell them. Thus, Hazrat Abu bakr, was given the title of Siddique , for he attested Prophet’s journey to heavens or Mairaj , without any hesitation or delay. This kind of attitude was required from the believers when prophet (PBUH) was alive. That is why this age is called the age of faith. The second era started after Prophet (PBUH) was not among the Muslims. During this period Ummah or the Muslim community had to think and decide about the religious matters in the light of the…

Sheikh Chilli : A Person who Does not Understand the Law of Gravity

A Tale of Two Generations: A Story from the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
Sheikh Chilli, a famous character among children in the subcontinent of India, is notorious for his follies and simplicity. One thing that people of the subcontinent always attribute to sheikh chilli is that he never cared about laws of nature. He built castles in the air and in his imagination established great businesses, empires, became a prince, married a princes-and in the end of the story the castle in the air vanished and Sheikh Chilli found him surrounded by the people laughing at him.
One day, Sheikh Chilli, needing a few logs of wood, went to the woods with an axe in his hand, along with his friends. He climbed a tree and sat on a bough. Looking at the tree and the woods he started fancying, as usual.  He closed his eyes and thought that he would cut a log from the tree and sell it in the market. In return he will earn some money and save it somewhere. He will work day and night and save some money…

Kashmiri Sapphire: A gem of gems

Kashmiri Sapphire: A gem of gems
A Tale of Two Generations: A Story from the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
People already know the story of the unfortunate gem called" Kohinoor" , whose story bears similarities with 
that of Helen of Troy, for whom Greeks sailed in thousand ships to sack the city of Troy. Kohinoor so much attracted the British crown that they captured India for it. Indian subcontinent is famous for its rich deposits of precious stones . From the early Vedic periods , gemology has remained a great important art to learn , and there are thousands of years old texts on this subject . Right from the beginning , three stones are ranked as the highest among the gems of the subcontinent; these are Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Out of these Ruby being affiliated with the Sun god, is considered as the most precious , and Sapphires come next. Kashmiri Sapphire, in the word of Keats,  is famous for its " sapphire regioned star" of five points, clearly visible . T…