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Have you ever worked such long hours that you "blanked out" on your drive home? That is, you arrived at your destination but honest'y don't remember stopping at certain intersections or making certain turns (kind of scary, right?).

Here's the important question: Were you conscious during your "black out"? How would James explain this phenomenon? Here, we didn't just miss information on TV, we literally performed complex behaviors (stopping, turning the wheel of the car) while in "a different world."

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"There is, I mean, no aboriginal stuff or quality of being, contrasted with that of which material objects are made, out of which our thoughts of them are made; but there is a function in experience which thoughts perform, and for the performance of which this quality of being is invoked. That function is knowing. 'Consciousness' is supposed necessary to explain the fact that things not only are, but get reported, are known. Whoever blots out the notion of consciousness from his list of first principles must still provide in some way for that function's being carried on." James, Does 'Consciousness' Exist? (1904). Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 1, 477-491.

This quote seems to grasp the issue. It is not clear that consciousness implies self-awareness. The lack of memory itself does not imply that the driver of the car was not ...

Solution Summary

The following posting discusses consciousness and the phenomenon of "blacking out."