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Piotrowski, Z.A. (1955). Abramson, Harold A., edit.: Problems of Consciousness: Transactions of the Fifth Conference, 1954. [New York: Josiah Macy, Jr., Found., 1955. Pp. 180. $3.50]. Psychoanal. Rev., 42(3):312-313.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Review, 42(3):312-313

Abramson, Harold A., edit.: Problems of Consciousness: Transactions of the Fifth Conference, 1954. [New York: Josiah Macy, Jr., Found., 1955. Pp. 180. $3.50]

Review by:
Z. A. Piotrowski

These are transactions of the fifth and last symposium on consciousness, organized by the Josiah Macy Foundation. The purpose of this foundation' conferences is interdisciplinary crossfertilization. During the last symposium the members made a more determined effort to define consciousness and to take a clear stand on the importance of the concept than in the previous ones. Some members of the group, particularly the experimentalists, took the view that more progress could be made in research if the term consciousness were eliminated. As at previous meetings, most of the time the discussion centered around topics, which had little, if any, relation to consciousness. The definitions of consciousness offered were few. “Consciousness is a special feeling of an individual referring to an internalized but communicable integrated response of the past, present, and future significance of a given system to self”. “Consciousness, as usually employed, is a construct based on verbal behavior; that which is verbalizable now (or later) is (or will be) conscious. The construct is often extended to include (a) other symbolic behavior, such as gestures, or pressing a key to mean ‘I see the light’, or (b) it may be extended to anything learned”. “I label as consciousness 1… the consciousness which is not susceptible of verification… I label as consciousness 2 the objective consciousness, the verifiable consciousnessConsciousness 2 is a consciousness in which consciousness 1 is inferred”. “Consciousness as reported in terms of sensory intensity is a quantifiable property of action of the nervous system in the way that voltage is a property of a battery.…

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