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Consciousness Wk 1 Summary & Wk 2
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Consciousness Wk 1 Summary & Wk 2

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Slides from week 2 of 4 in the series, 'Buddhism, Science, Philosophy, and Consciousness. Mahasraddha and Chris discuss the different approaches to consciousness in Buddhism and Western philosophy. …

Slides from week 2 of 4 in the series, 'Buddhism, Science, Philosophy, and Consciousness. Mahasraddha and Chris discuss the different approaches to consciousness in Buddhism and Western philosophy. Given at the Manchester Buddhist Centre on April 2nd 2007.

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  • 1. Buddhism, Philosophy, and Consciousness Week 2 of 4 in the series, 'Buddhism, Science, Philosophy, and Consciousness. Mahasraddha and Chris discuss the different approaches to consciousness in Buddhism and Western philosophy. Given at the Manchester Buddhist Centre on April 2nd 2007
  • 2. Consciousness
    • “ Consciousness” derives from the Latin conscientia which primarily means moral conscience or, in the literal sense, shared knowledge
    • Oxford Dictionary:
      • 1. Awareness of
      • 2. The totality of a person’s thoughts and feelings or a class of these
  • 3. Consciousness in 1600
  • 4. Consciousness
    • Qualities such as:-
      • Subjectivity
      • Self-awareness
      • Sentience (perception through the senses)
      • Sapience (wisdom)
      • Ability to perceive relationships between oneself and one’s environment
  • 5. Perspective
  • 6. Energy pyramids and food chains
  • 7. Human evolution
  • 8. Human evolution
  • 9. Evolution of consciousness One foot tall statuette carved from ivory 30000 years ago. Feline face and human body are evidence of artist's ability to think abstractly
  • 10. Brain structure and size
  • 11. Neurons transmit messages in the brain Myelin Sheath Nodes of Ranvier Axon Terminals Dendrites Nucleus Cell Body (Soma) Dendrites bring information to the cell body and axons take information away from the cell body
  • 12. Development of the brain
  • 13. Functionality of the brain
  • 14. Three Basic Units of the Human Brain Rational brain Neocortex Intellectual tasks Intermediate brain Limbic system Emotions Primitive brain Self preservation/aggression
  • 15. The Thalamocortical system Note interactions between posterior thalamocortical areas involved in perceptual categorisation and anterior areas related to memory, value & planning
  • 16. Key concepts of consciousness
    • Dynamic core
      • Is the current but constantly changing pattern of reentrant neuronal groups that are active at any one time
      • Process of their reentry is basis of consciousness
      • How can the reentrant activity account for both the unitary nature of consciousness as well as its complexity and changeability?
  • 17. Processes, not definitions
    • Karl Popper:-
    • “Knowledge and understanding advance not through asking for definitions of what things are, but through asking why they occur and how they work”