The wonders of self awareness

1468 Words Jun 5th, 2014 6 Pages
Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
In philosophy
An early philosophical discussion of self-awareness is that of John Locke. Locke was apparently influenced by René Descartes ' statement normally translated 'I think, therefore I am ' . In chapter XXVII "On Identity and Diversity" of Locke 's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding he conceptualized consciousness as the repeated self-identification of oneself, through which moral responsibility could be attributed to the subject—and therefore punishment and guiltiness justified, as critics such as Nietzsche would point out, affirming "...the psychology of conscience
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The ‘Red Spot Technique’ created and experimented by Gordon Gallup studies self-awareness in animals . In this technique, a red odorless spot is placed on an anesthetized primate’s forehead. The spot is placed on the forehead so that it can only be seen through a mirror. Once the individual awakens, independent movements toward the spot after seeing their reflection in a mirror are observed. During the Red Spot Technique, after looking in the mirror, chimpanzees used their fingers to touch the red dot that was on their forehead and even after touching the red dot they would smell their fingertips. "Animals that can recognize themselves in mirrors can conceive of themselves," says Gallup. This would mean that the chimpanzees would possess self-awareness. Note that the chimpanzees have had experience with a mirror before the ‘Red Spot Technique’ was performed. Having experience with a mirror before the technique was performed reflects the past, independent movement while looking in the mirror would reflect the present, and touching the red dot would reflect what others’ are thinking which relates perfectly to Gallup’s statement in the beginning of this article. a mirror was presented with the reflective side facing the magpie being the only interpretation of the bird seeing the marked spot they had on them. During one trial with a mirror and a mark, three out of the five magpies showed a minimum of one example of self-directed

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