What is consciousness?

 ‘The Consciousness Conundrum’
by Dr Peter Naish – Open University

“What is consciousness, and how do physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective life of a conscious mind? Simple animals like the amoeba presumably have no such experience, since they have no brain or nervous system, yet they can react to their surroundings well enough to survive without it. Many of our own cognitive functions such as perceiving objects, making decisions, and even performing apparently voluntary actions can take place without consciousness intervening, but if we can function without conscious awareness, why should consciousness be there at all? Is consciousness just an accidental by-product of having a large brain, or has it been selected for by evolution because creatures with consciousness have improved prospects for survival? Historically, questions about the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness have primarily been a topic for philosophers, but advances in neuroscience are bringing us closer to a scientific understanding. Peter Naish, a senior lecturer in cognitive psychology at The Open University, will be revealing many of the latest developments in our efforts to unravel the mysteries of consciousness.”

Saturday 10th October 2.00pm Moordown Community Centre, Coronation Avenue, BH9 1TW

The above text originally appeared in the Dorset Humanists newsletter. No religious or a-religious views are being implied – this simply looks like a thought-provoking talk relevant to some of the situations nurses can find themselves in while caring for people at their most vulnerable. 

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