Essay on The Perception Of The Human Consciousness

Essay on The Perception Of The Human Consciousness

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Could a being other than human consciousness ever attain the status of the for-itself? Is the for-itself, as freedom of consciousness, restricted only to human consciousness? Can consciousness in the sense of Sartre’s for-itself ever be attributed to other sentient mammals that are capable of expressing their intelligence, such as cetaceans? Sartre does not explicitly formulate restrictive associations between the for-itself and human beings, but there are also no implications that any other (animal) intelligence could ever attain this status of for-itself as freedom of consciousness. However, Sartre does explicitly say, and on many occasions, that the conditions of the for-itself constitute human reality. In physiological terms, the human body (physical) sustains consciousness (psychic), but the body (here understood as the physical manifestation of the human being) is not dependent on, and can be without, consciousness. In concrete terms, this is most evident in the animal kingdom, given that consciousness in the human sense is a uniquely human phenomenon. It is my goal to demonstrate that human consciousness, as the consciousness constitutive of the for-itself, is not differing or lacking in essence more so than the lesser status of in-itself afforded to other sentient mammals, and is not lacking in essence more so than the in-itself. It is only lacking from its own perspective, manifest in language.
Many are not comfortable with the idea of equating any other mammalian intelligence with consciousness, let alone any ‘lower’ life forms. The difficulty with this notion of attributing consciousness to sentient animals based on what we know of their intelligence or brainpower is that this threshold of consciousness would be extreme...


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... then renders human beings to the status of the for-itself is consciousness in the mode of conceptual language.
The purpose of this analysis of the role of language in consciousness is to demonstrate that the for-itself would not be for the for-itself were it not for its consciousness in the mode of conceptual language. The for-itself determines itself as lacking an essence, an essence that is constitutive of the in-itself. If consciousness is lacking an essence, essence itself is a product of the conceptual framework that is language, and language is arbitrary in nature with no necessity of accurately reflecting the external world, then can the for-itself (as necessarily embodied consciousness) really be lacking in essence more so than the in-itself? It is nothing but language that exalts the human being (as embodied consciousness) to the status of the for-itself.

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