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10.10.2010 г.
In the present book some questions pertaining to one of the most important problems in philosophy and natural sciences - the problem of consciousness, are discussed.
The main attention in the book is concentrated on the characteristic of consciousness, as a highest function of brain, connected with faculty of speech, and form of reflection of the objective reality specifically inherent in man.
The approach to this problem is based on the dialectical materialist concept of the relation between consciousness and being, which recognized a secondary dependence of the nature of consciousness as a function of brain and the reflection of reality, and on the thesis of social determination of consciousness.
Specific features of reflection of reality by man, as compared with the reflection of the outward world by animals, are due to the conditions of his social being, his mode of life. The peculiar feature of man's social being is its historical social character. A distinguishing feature of the man's mode of life is labour activity.
An attempt is made in the book, on the basis of philosophical principles of dialectical materialism which is diametrically opposite to those of the objective and subjective idealisms, to analyse some social factors accounting for the formation of consciousness. In particular, the question on language as a condition of existence of consciousness is given special attention.
Being by its nature a social process, consciousness is at the same time a form of reflecting of reality by an individual. Reflection of nature and society is being car-
ried on by man in forms of individual consciousness and in various forms of social consciousness. A question of the relationship between individual and social consciousness, and in this connection, a question of the relationship between psychology and sociology, are given in the book special attention. Psychology, as a science, recognizes consciousness as a function of brain determined by social life of people. Sociology deals with the content of consciousness, as the reflection of social relationships of people, of social being, determining the main patterns of the society. This difference between the two should always be born in mind in order to avoid of «sociologisation» of the psychology as a subject, on the one hand, and of «psychologisation» of sociology as a subject, on the other.
Having specific features individual and social consciousness are constantly connected and interact with each other.
The question of the relationship between individual and social consciousness is not only of theoretical interest but is also of practical value, particularly in connection with the task of bringing up communist consciousness in our people.
Historical approach to the phenomena of consciousness rises questions about the sources from which these phenomena originate, about the connection between various stages and forms of reflection, and about biological preconditions responsible for originating a human mode of reflection of reality. In order to be able to answer some of these questions the author analyses the relationship between the concepts of psychics and those of consciousness, succession in the evolution of psychics of animals and man, objective and subjective factors in the reflection of the outward world by animals.
In most primitive forms the psychical processes arise in the animal world, and in the course of evolution of the nervous system these processes develop. But even higher forms of psychic reflection, which take place in anthropoid apes, are unconscious. Consciousness is a characteristic feature of psychic processes of man. Coming into being of this phenomenon signified the birth of a new quality of psychic reflection inherent only in man.
Analysis of the development of psychics in animals (from elementary sensitivity to complex forms of tool
activity) is based on comprehensive experimental material, reported by numerous investigators in this country and abroad.
In the book under review an idea is consistently pursued that the development of the reflection forms is connected with the development and complication of the conditioned reflexive activity of organisms. A conditioned reflex is an elementary unit of the higher. nervous activity representing simultaneously a phenomenon possessing both physiological and psychic features.
The author is of opinion that the characteristic of only objective content of reflection, i.e. of what can be percepted from the outward world and what helps an animal orient itself in the surrounding world, is not sufficient for understanding the nature of psychic phenomena in animals. The content of reflection interweaves with the complex system of the organism life activity and acquires thereby an individualized character. A special part of the book is dedicated to the factors accounting for individualized (specific) form of psychic reflection in animals.
A. considerable attention the author pays to the characteristic of the physiological background of consciousness. The question of material foundation of psychics at present in concretized form is being discussed as a relationship between psychics and forms of motion of matter. Correlation between consciousness and motion of matter most fully was expressed by V. I. Lenin who stated that concepts of materialism consist not in deducing sensations out of motion of matter, or to reduce them to the motion of matter, but in recognizing the sensation as one of the properties of moving matter. Specificity of this property, as compared with other properties of matter, consists in its ideality. Consciousness is not a sort of substance, an entity. It is a peculiar manifestation of matter, its specific property.
In order to characterize the material foundations of consciousness it is of importance to elucidate the relation between psychics and higher nervous activity.
According to the concept developed by I. P. Pavlov, psychical activity is the higher nervous activity. By stating that higher nervous activity is simultaneously physiological and psychical activity, we do not reduce the psychical to the physiological. As far as psychics is concerned, the same processes of the higher nervous activity which are studied by physiology, appear for psychologist in a new specific quality. A discovery of the signal principle of the brain functioning, made by I.P. Pavlov, represents a criterium of the vital sense of the psychical phenomena and their significance in the behaviour of organisms. Of particular importance for understanding of the physiological background of consciousness is the I. P. Pavlov's concept on specificity of the second signalling system in man, which interacting with the first signalling system serves as a physiological foundation of the specifically human forms of reflection of reality-conscious reflection which regulates the purposeful planned activity of man not only as an organism but as a subject of the socio-historical vital activity.
In recent decades the problem of the relation between consciousness and brain has been attracting attention of scientists from various fields of knowledge - psychiatrists, neuropathologists, physiologists, psychologists. A progress in the field of extensive experimental studies of the functioning of different sections of brain, application oi new methods of research, call for more detailed characteristics of the relation between consciousness and physiological activity of brain. Solution of the problem of localization of consciousness is now being expressed, as a rule, through physiological investigations.
Experimental studies conducted using electrophysio-logical, neuro-surgical, neurographical, and other techniques represent a great contribution to the elucidation of complicated relations between various sections of brain, in particular, those between the cortex and sub-cortex formations. Many of these studies constitute a doubtless asset to the science. But basing on the false methodological positions a theory of centre-encephalitic system was proclaimed which is inconsistent with the true understanding of the functional role of different sections of the brain. Particularly acute, in connection with the theory of centre-encephalitic system, is the question about the qualitative characteristics of functions associated with definite structures. Origination in the evolutional process of the organic world of new brain structures, no doubt, had to produce changes in functions: a function is dependent on structure. A complicated function must be connected with more complicated brain forms. This is required by materialistic principle of development, by the evolutional approach to the study of both structure and function attached to it. Meanwhile, according to the centre-encephalitic system theory the most complex nervous integration, which results in purposeful activity and consciousness of man, is carried on by more ancient nervous structures which are more primitive than the complicated structure of cortex appeared later. The centre-encephalitic system of man does not differ much qualitatively from that of animals. It means that their functions, in particular those of higher nervous integration, do not differ much either. But this is not the case, because conscious reflection and purposeful activity is inherent only in man.
Considering the role of various sections of the nervous system in the interrelations of the organism with the environment, and, consequently, the physiological factors as well, accounting for origination of psychical phenomena, we proceed from the principal assumption which makes a part of I. P. Pavlov's physiological theory, that the organism establishes its relations with the environment as an entity, integral formation and that all physiological regularities result from the adsptivity of the organism to definite conditions of existence.
Psychical activity connected with the first signalling system acquires its specificity due to the developing in man of a new kind of the signalling functions of nervous system. The characteristic of physiological background of consciousness is specially discussed, with consideration of some features of the higher nervous activity of man responsible for the specificity of his psychical processes.
Elucidation of the nature of consciousness a specifically human kind of reflecting of reality requires not only understanding of the place the consciousness occupies in the system of causations and interrelations of the objective reality but characteristic of the place it occupies in the system of psychical phenomena as well. But considering the relation of consciousness with other psychical processes we start from the thesis that any psychical phenomenon, be it conscious or not, should be considered not from within, but from its relationship with the outward world. Moreover, this relationship is not confined only to the bond of an isolated psychical phenomenon with outward stimulus which has caused this phenomenon, but is viewed as a result of the interrelationship of the subject with the objective reality in a more general sense. The psychical phenomenon itself represents a form of man's relation with outward world.
The essence of consciousness is, first of all, that it is the reflection of reality. Knowledge is the core of consciousness.
The gnosiological character of consciousness consists in the coincidence of cognition and consciousness.
Reflection of objective reality constitues the content of consciousness. The mechanism of consciousness consists in disclosing of the relation between the psychical phenomenon and the real fact causing this phenomenon. Animals are also endowed with psychical processes, but they are void of power of realizing the objective cause responsible for the change in the internal state, which has become the content of the psychical reflection. Sensations of man are unconscious until he establishes which outward stimulus causes these sensations. When we speak about consciousness as a supreme form of reflection of reality, we mean that in the real process of realization of the outward world over sensations, ideas and thinking no any. additional superstructure is built which basing on everything lying underneath represents something distinguishing from and existing independently of them. Actually, these forms of reflection in the process of the socio-historical evolution of man acquire a new quality. Consciousness is not anything standing above sensations and reasons, but represents a realized reflection of the outward world carried out through their mediation.
The objective reality can be cognized by a concrete person. And this individual not only cognizes it but is capable of percepting and acting. The psychical processes belong to a certain (definite) subject, percepted by him. The belonging of the psychical processes to a definite individual accounts for the subjective character of the cognition  activity of man. Consciousness  is  not  only cognition but perception as well.
The vital significance of consciousness would not be justified if it were not associated with the real behaviour of man, with his activity. Therefore the characteristic of the connection between consciousness and activity is indispensable for understanding of the essence of consciousness and the specific peculiarities of the reflective activity of the man's brain.
Special sections in the book deal with analyses of correlations between consciousness and perception, feelings, consciousness and cognition, consciousness and activity.
Particular attention in the book is paid to self-consciousness which is a kind of consciousness. Similarly to consciousness, it is characterized by the inseparable connections between perception and consciousness, which form and manifest themselves in a concrete activity of an individual.
Self-consciousness forms in the process of the historical evolution of man. But its structure, regularities governing its formation, are particularly significant at the origination of self-consciousness in childhood.
The process of realization by man of himself, beginning with a certain self-sensation appearing during his vitab activity, forms in the same way as the process of realization "of the outward world. Development of self-consciousness consists in the transition of sensation to ideas (concepts) and from these to the thought.
Phenomena of self-consciousness are also based on the cerebral reflex activity with which physiologists and psychologists come across when they study the process of cognition by man of the surrounding world.
The principal thesis of dialectical materialism about the social essence of consciousness is also valid for understanding of self-consciousness of an individual and is confirmed experimentally by psychological studies. These studies show that, apart from the world of things the formation of all elements of self-consciousness of an individual is greatly influenced by other people, by a community as a whole.
Much attention in the book is paid to the analyst of interrelations between conscious and unconscious phenomena in the psychics of man. By criticizing strongly the idealistic conceptions of the unconsciousness, freudism and neo-freudism in particular, the author characterizes consciousness and unconsciousness as properties of psychical reflection, some conditions for transformation of the unconscious reflection into conscious one, dialectics of conscious and unconscious regulation of behaviour.
In conclusion, an active role of consciousness as a regulator of behaviour is emphasized.
The problem of consciousness in the present book is analysed on the philosophical basis of the dialectical materialism and I. P. Pavlov's theory on the higher nervous activity.

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