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Introduction: At What Point do Humans Develop Consciousness? January 22, 2009

Posted by ews8704 in Philosophy of biology, Philosophy of mind.
Wired Baby

Wired Baby

I first remember thinking about the nature of consciousness when I was 4 years old. Back then, I knew I was a big girl: my parents and teachers kept telling me so.  I also knew that, before a girl is big, she is little. Yet I had  no memory of being a little girl.

I remember contemplating this on the afternoon car rides from day care at Eastern Washington University to home in Spokane.  I finally came to the following conclusion:

I must have just “woken up” one day. I pictured it in my mind: a baby suddenly realizing what she was seeing, what she was hearing,  and what she was thinking to herself. Like Frankenstein’s monster rising up from the operating table, the pieces of me had just pulled themselves together and I had become Elena, a girl, who liked cowboy boots and the color blue.

I spent some days jogging my memory, trying to figure out when that mythical day had been.  I was forced to come to the conclusion that the process was gradual, and that maybe memory was one of the later steps in consciousness, one that I had only just reached.

Speaking of memory: I remember this clearly. I even remember the long car rides from Cheney to Spokane: the ponderosas, the dust, the little lake we past filled with cattails, and the farms by Latah Creek (Those were so disappointing- what was a farm without animals?). But maybe I had stitched up this memory, when I was, say, eight years old, from  fragment remembrances of my preschool days.  Or maybe I had invented it when I was a teenager, because it sounded cool, and then forgotten I had made it up.



1. tcb1370 - January 22, 2009

You can click “Save as Draft” when writing up the post, and I believe that it will save it until you’re ready to come back and finish it. That way you don’t have to publish an unfinished post – if you don’t want to.

2. ews8704 - January 24, 2009

I’ve now changed it to an introduction and cleaned it up a bit.

3. Greg - January 24, 2009

I would also recommend mashing the “more” button after the first paragraph or so, to make it easier to browse through the blog (see my post above for an example).

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