Chapter 7: Demarcating Consciousness
Here will only be addressed what the term consciousness can feasibly reference when the term is generally understood as “that awareness which pertains to eidems”.
In large part due to the flexibility of language—which facilitates the progressive change of various meanings for the term consciousness—the current chapter will not seek to establish its demarcations of consciousness with epistemic certainty. Rather—in addition to providing deeper understandings of the eidem’s three strata of awareness—this chapter will specify what the remaining portions of this work will address by the term consciousness.
In overview, only two of eight possible demarcations of consciousness will be deemed feasible: one of these, termed protologic consciousness, will strictly consist of an eidem’s protoawareness, i.e. its protocept, and will exclude both the eidem’s mesocepts and allocepts; the other demarcation, termed eidemic consciousness, will consist of all three strata of awareness pertaining to an eidem.
Figure 7-1 gives a simplistic visual presentation of both these denotations of our consciousness.
7.1. A Foreword Regarding Preexisting Literature on Consciousness
There is a vast array of ready-established literature addressing the nature of consciousness. A general impression of this literature can be gleamed from the following Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online entries: Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and The Unity of Consciousness, among other related entries.
A thorough contrasting between the contents of this chapter and the numerous, often implicit demarcations of consciousness that can be found will be beyond the scope of this chapter. Rather than engaging in piecemeal comparisons that favor contrasting this chapter’s contents to some ready established, often implicit demarcations at the expense of others, no such comparisons will be herein made.
The validity, or lack thereof, of this chapter’s contents will instead be deemed to primarily rest upon the validity of all previously espoused epistemic certainties regarding our awareness as eidems.
7.2. This Treatise’ Use of Terminology Regarding Consciousness
Whereas being conscious of can in certain contexts be understood by some as fully synonymous to being aware of, being conscious and a consciousness will for those here concerned strictly address that awareness pertaining to an eidem—but not that awareness which, for example, we as eidems can infer occurs within the non-eidemic portions of our minds.
For instance, consider an intuition which informs a given eidem of something the eidem was previously unaware of (as an example, the intuition maybe informing the eidem that some other person’s motives where not as the eidem initially cognized them to be). Whereas it might be appropriate for some in certain situations to express, “My intuition was conscious of things I was not”—here equating conscious of to aware of—it will be at best exceedingly aberrant for the same person to affirm either that, “My intuition was conscious in ways I was not,” or that, “My intuition’s consciousness was different from my own.” The latter two affirmations—that of being conscious and that of a consciousness—will instead be strictly reserved by all those here concerned for the purposes of addressing that awareness which pertains to an eidem (which, in the just given example, apprehends its intuition as an ennoological endo-allocept that, as such, conveys to the eidem novel information).
That being conscious and a consciousness—as well as the abstracted notion of consciousness—are strictly reserved for eidems by those here concerned becomes maybe more evident when considering subconsciousness or unconsciousness. Here, awareness is partitioned into that awareness which belongs to the eidem—this being conscious awareness—and that awareness which does not belong to the eidem but instead pertains to those aspects of the eidem’s total mind of which the eidem is ignorant of—hence, into either subconscious awareness or unconscious awareness.
Equivocations can occur. For example, in affirming that, “My intuition was conscious of things I was not,” one ascribes some form of awareness to one aspect of either one’s subconscious or unconscious mind. This then translates into the affirmation that one’s subconscious or unconscious mind, in whole or in part, can be conscious of things one as eidem is not. This affirmation, in turn, can further result in the inference that one’s subconscious or unconscious is of itself conscious—i.e., that it is endowed with consciousness—thereby holding the potential to result in the following contradiction: That awareness which is not conscious (being instead affirmed as occurring beneath that which is conscious awareness in the case of the subconscious or, else, being more directly affirmed to be nonconscious awareness in the case of the unconscious) is at the same time and in the same respect conscious.
To avoid any such potential semantic confusions, it is to be understood that within this treatise being conscious and a consciousness—as well as the more generalized understanding of consciousness as the attribute which pertains to that which is conscious—will strictly reference that awareness which is held by eidems. Hence, whereas this treatise might affirm that the subconscious or unconscious mind, in whole or in part, can be in some ways aware, consciousness (which is conscious) will at all times strictly reference that awareness which pertains to an eidem—to which a subconscious or unconscious mind can be inferred to belong.
Furthermore, also for the sake of clarity, being conscious of will within this treatise also be strictly reserved for that which is conscious, i.e. for a consciousness, i.e. for that awareness which pertains to an eidem. As example, while this treatise might affirm an eidem’s intuition to of itself be in some way aware of givens of which the eidem is momentarily not, an intuition will not of itself be described within this treatise as being conscious of givens—for the intuition apprehended by an eidem will not of itself be the eidem’s awareness which apprehends what the intuition conveys.
In summation, consciousness, a consciousness, being conscious, and being conscious of will here all reference that awareness which pertains to an eidem.
7.3. A Collectively Exhaustive Listing of Possible Demarcations of Our Consciousness
In review, Chapter 4 has evidenced the unfalsified certainty that we as eidems (i.e., as first-person points of view) are whenever we are in any way aware. Chapter 5 has evidenced the unfalsified certainty that we as eidems are capable of at least the following four general modes of awareness: physiological, phainological, ennoological, and autological. And Chapter 6 has evidenced the unfalsified certainty that our awareness as eidems consists of three distinct, but entwined, strata: a) an alloawareness of all non-autological cognita which we as eidems apprehend, with such cognita having been termed allocepts; b) an autologically gained mesoawareness of the multiple means via which our alloawareness obtains, with these differing modes of autological awareness having been termed mesocepts; and c) a synchronically singular and undifferentiable, thereby unitary, protoawareness which autoceives itself (including its own states of emotive being and volitions), which autoceives its differing mesocepts, and which furthermore alloceives non-autological cognita—with this protoawareness having been termed the protocept.
Given that these self-referential, unfalsified certainties shall persist in remaining unfalsified for those here concerned regardless of scrutiny—and shall thereby remain epistemically certain for us—eight demarcations of an eidem’s awareness, i.e. of consciousness, will then be collectively exhaustive. Only two of these demarcations will be herein deemed feasible.
Figure 7-2 gives an outline of these eight demarcations.
7.3.1. Demarcation 1 (Feasible): Protologic Consciousness
In the first feasible demarcation of consciousness, consciousness will be deemed solely constituted of the eidem’s protocept—but will neither be constituted of the eidem’s mesocepts nor of the allocepts which the eidem apprehends.
As was briefly addressed in Chapter 6, an eidem will consist of all that is autoceived by a protocept—thereby at any given juncture consisting both of a singular protological autocept, i.e. the protocept itself (which is thereby unitary, and can consist of an autoawareness regarding its own state of emotive being and volition) and a plurality of mesological autocepts, i.e. mesocepts (which can consist of the ennoological faculties of apprehension, the phainological senses, and the physiological senses via which the protocept apprehends ennoologic, phainologic, and physiologic allocepts).
Although an eidem is distinguished from other relative to itself via a delineation between all which is autoceived (hence the protocept and its mesocepts, these again constituting the eidem) and all which is alloceived (hence allocepts, these constituting all that is other in respect to the eidem), it will only the be the eidem’s protocept—and not its mesocepts—which is aware, be this awareness protological, mesological, or allological.
Again, whereas an eidem is all that is autoceived by a protocept (i.e., both the protocept and its mesocepts), it will solely be the eidem’s protocept—and not its mesocepts—which holds the attribute of being that which is aware.
This unique ontological property of the eidem’s protocept facilitates a sharp demarcation between the eidem’s protocept, on the one hand, and its mesocepts and allocepts on the other: The former cognitum holds the ontological property of being that which is aware, whereas the latter two types of cognita do not.
Given that consciousness is understood to be that awareness which pertains to an eidem, it then becomes feasible to demarcate consciousness as strictly consisting of an eidem’s protoawareness—alternatively expressed, as strictly consisting of an eidem’s protocept.
This demarcation of consciousness conforms to statements such as, “I am conscious of […]”—wherein I may, for example, be conscious of a) my own emotive state of being and my volition as that which is conscious, i.e. as a consciousness, b) those differing faculties of apprehension which I as a consciousness hold and make use of (but am not identical to) via which I apprehend givens I deem to be other relative to myself as a consciousness, and c) those givens I deem to be other relative to myself as a consciousness. In the just given statement, then, the term I will strictly reference the first-person protocept as that which is conscious (i.e., as that which holds conscious awareness) and which is thereby a consciousness.
It is again emphasized that neither one’s mesocepts nor allocepts will be of themselves conscious. Neither one’s mesocepts nor allocepts will of themselves hold a first-person apprehension of what would be their own respective allocepts, this via their own respective mesocepts, as givens that of themselves apprehend cognita. The term I in the statement “I am conscious of […],” will hence never reference, for one example, ones personally experienced faculty of sight (a mesocept) via which one sees an item, nor will it reference the item which is seen (an allocept)—but, again, will strictly reference the protocept as that which sees the item via its faculty of sight.
In review, consciousness here strictly specifies the eidem’s protocept at that which is endowed with the state of being aware—and is thereby aware of a) itself as protological autocept (e.g., of being happy), b) its mesological autocepts (e.g., of being endowed with the faculties of both phaino-sight and physio-sight, among other senses), c) its endological allocepts (e.g., of the phaino-visual remembrance of a house), and d) its exological allocepts (e.g., of a physiologically seen house).
As one of two feasible demarcations of consciousness, it shall be distinguished from the other by the phrase protologic consciousness.
As an important note, protologic consciousness will not specify whether the protocept is an entity, a process, both, or neither.
7.3.2. Demarcation 2 (Feasible): Eidemic Consciousness
In the second feasible demarcation of consciousness, consciousness will be deemed constituted of all three strata of an eidem’s awareness—thereby simultaneously consisting of the eidem’s protocept, the eidem’s mesocepts, and the eidem’s allocepts.
We in practice perpetually experience ourselves as eidems, rather than experiencing ourselves as pure protocepts (i.e., as protocepts devoid of both mesocepts and allocepts). Furthermore, as eidems, our mesocepts are perpetually conjoined to respective allocepts (and, conversely, our allocepts are perpetually conjoined to respective mesocepts). This thereby entails that we in practice will always be simultaneously aware of a) ourselves as protocepts, b) one or more givens we apprehend as non-autological cognita, and c) one or more of our autoceived modes of apprehension. Rearticulated, because we in practice always experience ourselves as eidems—i.e., as a protocept in conjunction with mesocepts—and because we can only experience mesocepts in simultaneous conjunction with respective allocepts, we in practice will as protocepts then always be aware of allocepts via our autoceived mesocepts. Reworded once again, we as eidems will perpetually be aware of something other relative to ourselves as eidems.
Because we experience ourselves as eidems (rather than as pure protocepts), and because this entails our experience of allocepts, it then becomes feasible to demarcate our awareness as eidems—i.e., our consciousness—as constituted all three strata of our awareness as eidems.
This demarcation of consciousness conforms to statements such as, “The constituents of consciousness include that which is perceived,” or, exemplified in greater detail, “His altered consciousness partly consisted of bizarre visions.”
As one of two feasible demarcations of consciousness, it shall be distinguished from the other by the phrase eidemic consciousness.
Of note, for all eidems here concerned, demarcations 1 and 2 will not be contradictory but complimentary: We as eidems will perpetually hold eidemic consciousness—i.e., a simultaneous awareness of our own core and unitary being as protocept, of our own multiple faculties of apprehension, and of the allocepts we thereby apprehend as givens that are other. We as eidems will at the same time also be perpetually endowed with protologic consciousness: an autological—hence non-conceptual (non-ennoological)—awareness of being that unitary given which both apprehends and acts via its volition in relation to all that is other, this apprehension of other occurring via those multiple modes of awareness the same unitary given is autologically aware of being endowed with. In other words, perpetually intrinsic to our eidemic consciousness (i.e., a consciousness comprised of all three strata of awareness) will be a protologic consciousness (i.e., a consciousness strictly comprised of the protocept’s awareness).
By extension: Here, then, can be found two feasible delineations of the autological self: one of these being oneself as an eidem, which stands in relation to allocepts; the other being oneself as a protocept, which stands in relation to both mesocepts and allocepts. Further discussion of these two feasible delineations of the autological self (which can be contrasted to self as the total being of body and mind of which the protocept is aware) will be differed to latter portions of this work. Let it currently suffice that this ambiguity in what the autological self is will be an important aspect of this work’s further enquiries.
Lastly noted, as with any protocept, it is reaffirmed that the occurrence of an eidem (to which eidemic consciousness pertains) will not specify whether the given eidem is of itself an entity, a process, both, or neither.
7.3.3. Demarcation 3 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists solely of the eidem’s protocept and its mesocepts—but excludes all allocepts.
Both mesocepts and allocepts will be cognized by a respective protocept—such that without the occurrence of a protocept, neither its mesocepts nor its allocepts will occur. A protocept cannot cognize mesocepts in the absence of simultaneously cognized, respective allocepts. Therefore, were consciousness—i.e., that awareness which pertains to an eidem—to be demarcated as including a protocept’s awareness of mesocepts, it would then also entail the same protocept’s awareness of the allocepts thereby apprehended.
Because of this conjunction between experienced mesocepts and experienced allocepts, demarcating that awareness which pertains to an eidem—i.e., a consciousnesses—as consisting of both a protocept and the mesocepts the protocept autologically experiences sans experienced allocepts will be deemed not feasible.
7.3.4. Demarcation 4 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists solely of the eidem’s protocept and its allocepts—but excludes all mesocepts.
Because of the conjunction between experienced mesocepts and experienced allocepts, one cannot experience allocepts as a protocept in the complete absence of respective mesocepts. As one example, one as protocept cannot apprehend any visual percept when one as protocept is not actively endowed with the faculty of sight (in the case of physiological sight, such as can temporarily occur when one is thoroughly blindfolded).
Due to this, demarcating that awareness which pertains to an eidem as consisting of both a protocept and those allocepts which the protocept apprehends sans mesocepts will be deemed not feasible.
7.3.5. Demarcation 5 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists solely of the protocept’s mesocepts and allocepts—but excludes the protocept itself.
Because the occurrence of all non-protological cognita are dependent upon the occurrence of the protocept, and because it is the protocept which holds first-person awareness, demarcating that first-person awareness which pertains to an eidem as not consisting of the eidem’s protocept will be deemed not feasible.
7.3.6. Demarcation 6 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists solely of the protocept’s mesocepts—but excludes both the protocept and its allocepts.
As with demarcation 5, because the occurrence of all non-protological cognita are dependent upon the occurrence of the protocept, and because it is the protocept which holds first-person awareness, demarcating that first-person awareness which pertains to an eidem as not consisting of the eidem’s protocept will be deemed not feasible.
7.3.7. Demarcation 7 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists solely of the protocept’s allocepts—but excludes both the protocept and its mesocepts.
As with demarcations 5 and 6, because the occurrence of all non-protological cognita are dependent upon the occurrence of the protocept, and because it is the protocept which holds first-person awareness, demarcating that first-person awareness which pertains to an eidem as not consisting of the eidem’s protocept will be deemed not feasible.
7.3.8. Demarcation 8 (Not Feasible)
Consciousness consists of neither a protocept, its mesocepts, nor its allocepts.
In brief, because it is the protocept which holds first-person awareness, demarcating that first-person awareness which pertains to an eidem as not consisting of the eidem’s protocept (nor of its non-protological cognita) will be deemed not feasible.
7.4. A Concluding Analysis
In review, only two of the eight conceivable demarcations of consciousness will be feasible: protologic consciousness (which specifies that which is conscious; for example, specifying what the term “I” references) and eidemic consciousness (which specifies what is contained within an eidem’s awareness).
Both these denotations can be found to hold conceptual difficulties:
Although protologic consciousness specifies that aspect of an eidem which is aware, we again as protocepts shall in practice autoceive mesocepts and, therefore, shall simultaneously alloceive non-autological cognita. Reworded, we as protocepts will in practice perpetually find ourselves endowed with eidemic consciousness: such that our protoawareness—in being that which both autoceives and alloceives cognita—will be the nexus wherein both our mesoawareness and alloawareness occur. Hence, whereas from one conceptual vantage a protologic consciousness will be ontologically distinct from both its mesocepts and its allocepts, from a different, yet likewise feasible, conceptual vantage our protoawareness as eidems will be ontologically inseparable from both the mesocepts and allocepts it cognizes. In the latter interpretation, then, it can be argued that the demarcation of a protologic consciousness can only be ontologically specious—for we as eidems can only experience ourselves to hold an eidemic consciousness. As such, we might then only meaningfully address aspects of our eidemic consciousness.
On the other hand, because an eidemic consciousness is simultaneously constituted of a protocept, its mesocepts, and its allocepts, it will be a category error to for example affirm an eidemic consciousness as being that which is aware of allocepts: an eidemic consciousness is constituted of all allocepts cognized, and therefore cannot be that which cognizes allocepts. Rather, that which cognizes allocepts—as well as all autocepts—will strictly be the protocept in question. Hence, despite our awareness as eidems always being that of an eidemic consciousness, we will be necessarily specifying (however implicitly) a protologic consciousness as being that which is aware whenever we conceptualize a consciousness being aware of one or more cognita. Restated, the concept of “X is conscious of Y” cannot reference X as an eidemic consciousness—for an eidemic consciousness will be simultaneously constituted of both X and Y; instead, “X is conscious of Y” can only reference X as a protologic consciousness—for the specified X can only be the protocept which holds first-person awareness of the Y it is specified to be aware of. Hence, affirmations such as “X is conscious of”, “a consciousness of”, or, more abstractly, “consciousness of”—as well as related phrasings such as “observation of”—will all imply the occurrence of a protologic, rather than eidemic, consciousness which, as such, is that which cognizes whatever is addressed as being cognized. In this light, it can then be argued that the demarcation of an eidemic consciousness can only be a reification of a conceptualization we devise from the concrete ontological occurrence of our autologically experienced protologic consciousness—for we as eidems (i.e., as first-person points of view individually constituted of a protocept and its autoceived mesocepts) can only experience ourselves to be that unitary protoawareness which autoceives its own multiple mesocepts and, via conjunction, which thereby alloceives non-autological cognita.
Notwithstanding the conceptual difficulties with each, these two demarcations of consciousness will again be the only demarcations of consciousness that are logically sensible given our experiences as eidems.
While numerous complexities can emerge via further enquiries regarding our consciousness—such as, for one example, via the as of yet unaddressed issue of a consciousness’s attentional focus—this chapter’s principal interest of denoting what the term consciousness references will again be interpreted as resulting in the following conclusion:
While we as eidems will be perpetually aware of allocepts—i.e., of other in relation to ourselves as a total autoawareness—it will likewise be the case that the first-person awareness which is aware of both its autocepts and allocepts will be the first-person protocept in question (a first-person protocept which together with its autoceived mesocepts will constitute the eidem). In effect, then, here will be concluded that contained within every eidem (and hence within every eidemic consciousness) is a protocept (and hence a protologic consciousness) upon whose occurrence is dependent the occurrence of all its cognita, both autological and allological.
As an important caveat, here has only been addressed what the term consciousness can ontologically denote. No affirmation has however been given regarding whether a unique organism must necessarily correlate to a single protologic, or else eidemic, consciousness. Cases such as those of multiple personality disorder and of people who have surgically split brains can serve as examples of a single human organism that could be posited to hold something other than a single consciousness. This theme will be further addressed in later portions of Volume One.
Part 3 or this treatise will next address possibilities regarding the ontological standing of the volition which an eidem autoceives itself to engage in—more specifically, whether an eidem’s protocept can hold any conceivable form of what is commonly termed freewill.
- Van Gulick, Robert, "Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/consciousness/>.
- Smith, Joel, "Self-Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2020/entries/self-consciousness/>.
- Brook, Andrew and Paul Raymont, "The Unity of Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/consciousness-unity/>.