Consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, sentience, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."

Philosophers since the time of Descartes and Locke have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and pin down its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally valid; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computers or robots to be conscious.

In recent years, consciousness has become a significant topic of research in psychology and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness by asking human subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., "tell me if you notice anything when I do this"). Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by psychoactive drugs or spiritual or meditative techniques.

In medicine, consciousness is assessed by observing a patient's arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication, and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli. Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose, or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions in which consciousness is impaired or disrupted.

Read more about Consciousness:  In Philosophy, Spiritual Approaches, Scientific Approaches, Medical Aspects, Etymology and Early History, Stream of Consciousness

Other articles related to "consciousness":

Stream of Consciousness
... James is usually credited with popularizing the idea that human consciousness flows like a stream, in his Principles of Psychology of 1890 ... Every thought tends to be part of a personal consciousness ... (2) Within each personal consciousness thought is always changing ...
Ajativada - Glossary of Sanskrit Terms Used in This Article
... Ajativada =non creation, Bhakta =Devotee, Brahman = Pure Consciousness ... Nirguna Brahman= Pure Consciousness Nirvikalpa Samadhi = where subject-object division is not there Sat-Cit-Ananda= Existence-Consciousness-Limitlessness, Pralaya=Dissolution or resolving of the Universe, Maha-Pralaya ...
Association For The Scientific Study Of Consciousness
... The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (commonly referred to as the ASSC) is a professional membership organization that aims to encourage research on consciousness in cognitive science ... academic community could generate meetings devoted to the academic study of consciousness ...
Association For The Scientific Study Of Consciousness - Activities
... promote interaction and spread knowledge of scientific and philosophical advances in the field of consciousness research ... the association promotes the academic study of consciousness in a number of other ways The association publishes the open-access journal Psyche ... a freely available e-print archive of papers relevant to the study of consciousness ...
What The Bleep Do We Know!?/Bleep LEAD Sandbox
... graphics, and a narrative that posits a spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness ... obstacles in her life and begins to consider the idea that individual and group consciousness can influence the material world ... the movie's thesis about quantum physics and consciousness ...