States of consciousness and symbolic cognition

Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (2):105-118 (1998)
Consciousness6 carries the connotation of a state of consciousness . It is an emergent property of a gestalt phenomenon, namely the psychophysiological state of the organism . In this article, I extend my previous discussion of states of consciousness , embedding this within the wider perspective of both Gestalt psychology and psychoanalytic ego psychology. Gestalt notions, such as Prägnanz and microgenesis, are shown to be highly relevant to this theme. Natsoulas’ recent appraisal of my viewpoint has goaded me into reiterating the argument for looking at a qualitative change in thought, characterizing the shift in consciousness6, as being a promising area for further development. This hypothesized change in mode of thinking is of a metaphoric—symbolic nature, what such authors as Hunt and Haskell would term symbolic cognition. I discuss the relationships among perceptual experience, symbolic cognition and state of consciousness, concluding with some comments on Natsoulas’ reservations
Keywords Cognition  Consciousness  Mental States  Metaphysics  Science
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