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Akopov G.V. (2011). Consciousness as a central problem of modern psychology. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art. Scientific Yeabook / Ed. By Yu.P.Zinchenko, V.F.Petrenko. – Moscow: Lomonosov Moscow State University; Russian Psychological Society. P.15-24

The special status of the theme of consciousness in modern science is caused by a number of circumstances: considerable growth of scientific papers in the last quarter of XX and the beginning of XXI centuries, transition of modern society from the postindustrial phase to the informative, and also by the newest philosophy, new scientific ideology, ideas of postmodernism, etc.; there appeared such new integrated fields of knowledge as neuroscience, cognitive science, science of consciousness.
Keywords: modern psychology, consciousness, science, ideology.
DOI: 10.11621/pir.2011.0001
Pages: 15-23
By: Akopov, Garnik V.
Themes: Philosophy and Methodology of Psychology, Psychological Theories
PDF: http://psychologyinrussia.com/volumes/pdf/2011/01_2011_akopov.pdf
The special status of a theme of consciousness in a modern science is caused by a number of circumstances. The first of them is a considerable growth of scientific papers in last quarter of XX – the beginning of XXI centuries. The renewed interest of scientists to the consciousness problem, considerably surpassing all the previous, may be mainly explained by the transition of modern society from a phase of the postindustrial to the informative, and also by the newest philosophy, new scientific ideology, ideas of postmodernism, etc.; there appeared such new integrated fields of knowledge as neuroscience, cognitive science, science of consciousness. In practice one can see the more active and purposeful intervention of a man to the processes of the physical, biological and
social world and not always distinct comprehension of the long-term consequences of such intervention.
Another prominent feature of the problem of consciousness is the impossibility of reference of this theme only to one particular area of science or to one psychological direction since consciousness including human thinking is included to any sphere of activity of a person. In the psychology itself consciousness is presented in all psychological directions – from behaviorism with its negation of consciousness to humanistic psychology with its highly utilitarian installation of consciousness.
Foreign researches on the consciousness problem can be considered in a continuum starting from neuroscientific approaches to mechanisms and functions of consciousnesses to cognitive approaches in the description of kinds of consciousness functioning. The continuum borders are adjoined by the attempts to research consciousness with the use of physical variables (quantum, wave and molecular mechanisms) and computer programs on artificial intelligence. In explanatory schemes of foreign authors one can see extreme biologism (Searle, 1997; 2000) as well as system substantionalism (Chalmers, 1996; 1997). As a whole the modern space of studying of consciousness can be presented in two measurements combining the «continuum» of unitary-interdisciplinary researches, with their extreme measures of phenomenalism (introspection) and phisicalism; and a value-utilitarian scale with extreme measures of mystical spirituality and manipulation.
High theoretical engagement and insignificant demand of consciousness in applied works may not be casual for the existing system of psychological knowledge and practice. Even more so, in a number of new directions of home psychology consciousness «works» not only as a base category, but also as a distinct application concept. In particular they include: the psychosemantic concept of consciousness developed by V.F.Petrenko both in theoretical and in highly applicable aspects; psychologics of consciousness as a new general basis of psychology developed by the scientific school under the guidance of V.M.Allakhverdov; great series of researches by V.V.Znakov on the psychology of understanding and self-understanding as the major display of consciousness and life of person; V.A.Labunskaya's new researches on realised and non-realised components of nonverbal expression of a person; A.O.Prokhorov's unique researches on a problem of semantic determination of mental conditions; historic and psychological and paradigmatic approaches by V.A.Shkuratov to the communication problem of dissociation of a person and consciousness genesis, in particular; E.A.Sergienko's cognitive platform in consciousness research in early ontogenesis of a person; V.E.Semenov's original concept of polymental types of
consciousness in a modern society, etc. Considering the above list, it is clear, that in most cases theoretic and applied researches are being successfully developed if not all the consciousness categories are mentioned, but only a certain aspect – psychosemantic, cognitive, etc. More universal theoretical schemes of consciousness (structural approaches of A.N.Leontiev, V.P.Zinchenko, A.G.Asmolov, F.E.Vasiljuk) are used in practice less, unlike the particular variants (psychosemantics of consciousness, the psychologics of consciousness, polymentality of consciousness, etc.). The universal structures, the being and reflective layers of consciousness, biodynamic and sensual fabrics, value and sense, «serve» the concept of consciousnesses itself more than its usage in practice. And in the consciousness itself one can realize only the purpose of consciousness, but not the mechanism of comprehension.
«The new intention» defined the search of a new method of research analysis and designing of complete knowledge, namely, a method defined by the subject– co-awareness, that is the method that makes basis to any knowledge, presented in the form of scientific search, in its retro-, actual and transspective projections (Klochko, 2008). Meaningful dialogue is possible not withstanding the absence of transparency of «conceptual partitions». At the same time V.E.Klochko's statement that «the commonly divided context» is washed away, providing interaction of concepts, a context acting as «a condition of intra-scientific communication» is fair. In this respect it is important not to lose the common language of communication, that is, jointly developed and examined by time scientific concept. Today, during the post-non-classical period, on the foreground there is neither absolutization (authoritative knowledge), nor convention of knowledge (the coordinated thinking), but consolidation of efforts on free realized (reflective) choice of regulations of searches and corresponding discourse. And if there is a response (a contact) than the relevant communication with perspective of development into scientifically-semantic dialogue and metacommunication on various researches is possible. Here the context of co- awareness, i.e. joint knowledge, knowledge divided/united by someone is especially important. Therefore, any statement of the carrier of consciousness «armed» with scientific experience about consciousness is valuable and significant. At the center of the method is the comparison and forming of a limited set of judgments, opinions, evaluations and statements of a great number of experienced researchers, as well as scientific contacts and communication confirmed to some extent the freedom of thinking in the forms of realized choice, creativity, creation. Such construction can be considered as «communicative methodology» (Mazilov,
В русском прочтении со-знание приобретает значение знания, разделённого с кем-то, т.е. совместного знания.
2003), or a special genre – a version of the qualitative methods similar to the narrative of certain type (the scientific text) with parallel or subsequent meta-narrative analysis. Certainly, every statement has a context, genealogy, logics, valuable or personal bases. Therefore in such an original «puzzle-design» or intentionally regulated assemblage, besides other meta-narrative bases, the chronotopik compatibility of the «collected» texts (topological «muster» of texts, mental foreseeing or returning to sources from actual time) is essentially important.
It is known, that one of the main features of classical thinking is the use of binary oppositions; logic dichotomies are «the characteristic of the rational classical thinking» (Asmolov, 2002). And that is that we often meet in consciousness definitions: dialogue and generalization (a systematic and semantic structure of consciousness) by L.S.Vygotstkiy; knowledge and relation by S.L.Rubinshtejn; value and sense by A.N.Leontiev; the nonverbal and the semantic in V.F.Petrenko's concept; logic and paradox by V.M.Allakhverdov; remembering and understanding by A.J.Agafonov, etc. Agreeing with all-mightness of the initial binary divisions of all the real (finally, a binary code is at the heart of progress and «incomprehensible efficiency» of information technologies), at the same time we notice heterogeneity and variety of those bases or other dichotomies. In particular, theses are the binaries showing the maintenance of consciousness or its structure and layers, initial condition or result, condition or process, sources (conditions) or factors, etc. Is it possible to speak about any rational choice of the bases and about their possible number? Another feature is that the opposed members of dichotomies are not quite oppositional, and do not connect logic or even dialectic contrasts. But whether there is any advantage of multiplication of dichotomies, or they are themselves exclusively valuable basis of possibility (freedom) of thinking and, hence, «existing». Apparently, there is logic in the freedom of mental opposition, and that is the logic of search of the bases or in other words the basic knowledge. One of such «root» dichotomies, obviously, is the opposition of «I» - «Another» the basis of which can be found in L.S.Vygotskiy’s cultural-historical psychology, the distinct contours of which become stronger the more we «hide» to a virtual screen, trying, in search of adherents, to separate from the divided consciousness of the two and many. Starting from this fundamental for filo – and ontogenetic oppositions one can understand why Vygotskiy took dialogue and generalization act as initial, defining consciousness, messages; Rubinstain – knowledge and relation (including the relation of another to this knowledge that is the relation through another), etc. It is possible to assume, that intuition or M.Buber's revelation was prepared by «shoulders of giants», and personal character (personal knowledge) of expressions (form) of the maintenance of a base dichotomy is not excluded. In this respect consciousness and, accordingly, any
theory of consciousness, cannot be unique, as well as universal; initial or finished; full or consistent (Akopov, 2008). Another root dichotomy directly connected to the first one, is the opposition of the association-division, attentively investigated by V.I.Molchanov in a variant: distinction – synthesis (identification) (Molchanov, 1992). The link between the chosen oppositions («I» - «Another», Association-Division) defines, in our opinion, all the variety of real and conceivable displays.
Modern discussions on methodology in the Russian psychology and some decisions: polyphony, methodological pluralism and liberalism, etc. have not still found the universally recognized form in connection with the necessity of the subsequent fundamental reorganization of all system of psychological knowledge. In this respect the communicative methodology can be considered the most suitable for defining the principles of an establishment of interrelations and mutual relations of various psychological platforms in the processes of unbiassed scientific communication of the direct or mediated character, whether traditional monism or modern liberalism.
The communicative methodology, in our opinion, has more processive and less resulting character. The last is mainly presented in methodology of the consolidated knowledge. Using the fixed term «forming» in relation to the structure of consciousness (A.N.Leontiev, V.P.Zinchenko), besides the settled link of value and sense (later – being and reflexive consciousness layers), expressing systematic and semantic structure of consciousness, another Vygotskiy’s formula of dialogue and generalization can be also quite «efficient».
Probably, here is the «corner stone» which was noticed neither by opponents nor by the followers. It is also necessary to notice, that dialogue immanently and frequently implicitly participating in scientific research, knowledge, experimental training, etc., is not always included in the planned, registered (i.e. considered) variables. Anyway, the psychological sense of the last link (dialogue and generalization) is more transparent for consciousness «structure», than the difficult linguistic term «semantics» or synonymous to consciousness category of sense. Unfortunately, partly voluntarily, partly administratively established convention for a long time refused to consider dialogue as a category directly and appreciably defining consciousness. It is necessary to note significant efforts of some well-known researchers in this area (A.A.Bodalev, V.A.Labunskaja, A.A.Leontiev, B.F.Lomov, V.N.Miasischev, V.N.Panferov, B.D.Parygin, V.V.Rubtsov, V.E.Semenov, etc.). However in these works the basic character of dialogue for designing of consciousnesses of a person (an individual, a subject, an individuality) is not fully described. In some A.G.Asmolov's works and, in particular, in F.E.Vasiljuk’s works who studied the structural forming of consciousnesses in the context of a conventional discourse and who made new
contribution to the development of the idea of forming consciousness (after A.N.Leontiev and V.P.Zinchenko), the dialogue along with activity, installation and relation forms the basic category of home psychology.
The scientific consciousness as a dialogue (interpersonal or internal dialogue, reflexion of the scientist) and a generalization can also be subjected to the influence of installation, i.e. the general, obvious or implicit arrangement, and can be realized in conventional methodology of scientific activity, proclaiming one principle and rejecting the others. In our opinion consolidating methodology can be additional to the conventional one. The discourse of consolidation of contributions of Russian psychologists to the consciousness problem represents the new type of knowledge and relation. The designed concept: activity-dialogue, installation-relation, perfectly allows to unite theoretical and experimental-applied researches of home psychologists of different schools and periods.
In this respect (intention of consolidations) the category of dialogue gets the same universal character, as the consciousness itself since its (dialogue) process (A.V.Brushlinskiy) is equally claimed by human life and its understanding (V.V.Znakov), and by scientific knowledge of forms of the individual and group subject (A.L.Zhuravlyov). In such a dialogue, integrating ontological and gnoseological plans of consciousness, the existential and substantial characteristics of communications and metacommunications can be globally revealed as reflective layer stratifications. The last can act as an individual-personal display or valuable quality of group consciousness.
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