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Mens Sana Monogr. 2013 Jan;11(1):151-209. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.109341.

Towards an integrative theory of consciousness: part 2 (an anthology of various other models).

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Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Mumbai, India.


The study of consciousness has today moved beyond neurobiology and cognitive models. In the past few years, there has been a surge of research into various newer areas. The present article looks at the non-neurobiological and non-cognitive theories regarding this complex phenomenon, especially ones that self-psychology, self-theory, artificial intelligence, quantum physics, visual cognitive science and philosophy have to offer. Self-psychology has proposed the need to understand the self and its development, and the ramifications of the self for morality and empathy, which will help us understand consciousness better. There have been inroads made from the fields of computer science, machine technology and artificial intelligence, including robotics, into understanding the consciousness of these machines and their implications for human consciousness. These areas are explored. Visual cortex and emotional theories along with their implications are discussed. The phylogeny and evolution of the phenomenon of consciousness is also highlighted, with theories on the emergence of consciousness in fetal and neonatal life. Quantum physics and its insights into the mind, along with the implications of consciousness and physics and their interface are debated. The role of neurophilosophy to understand human consciousness, the functions of such a concept, embodiment, the dark side of consciousness, future research needs and limitations of a scientific theory of consciousness complete the review. The importance and salient features of each theory are discussed along with certain pitfalls, if present. A need for the integration of various theories to understand consciousness from a holistic perspective is stressed.


Artificial Intelligence; Consciousness; Philosophy; Quantum physics; Self

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