Historical Perspectives Consciousness as

Many disciplines have concerned themselves with attempts to understand consciousness. Like the proverbial group of blind men trying to describe an elephant, each discipline's perception is highly dependent on its orientation and particular elephant part it happens to contact. The blind men succeed, largely because they have the elephant surrounded.

Some feel the mind is too complicated to be described by the human brain. Perhaps the mystery of the mind is a necessary barrier to man's "roboticization"? As philosopher Richard Rorty has said: "the ineffability of the mental serves the same cultural function as the ineffability of the divine-it vaguely suggests that science does not have the last word" (Jaynes, 1976). Despite these worries, a progression of theories and metaphors of the mind have evolved and are reviewed historically in Julian Jaynes' book, The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Jaynes describes eight solutions to the brain/mind problem developed through the 20th century. They describe consciousness as a property of matter, of protoplasm, of learning, as a metaphysical imposition, a helpless spectator, an emergent property of evolution, behavior, and as activity within the brain's reticular activating system. These are reviewed with modifications and additions relevant to computer technology and the cytoskeletal dimension.

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