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< Articles by Julian Jaynes

Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind

Julian Jaynes
Canadian Psychology, 1986, 27 (2).
Reprinted in Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), The Julian Jaynes Collection (Julian Jaynes Society, 2012).

Summary:

The problem of consciousness and its corollary the mind body problem have been with us at least since Descartes. An approach to a solution to both may be begun by carefully analyzing consciousness into its component features and modes. It will then be seen that consciousness is based on language, in particular its ability to form metaphors and analogies. The result is that consciousness is not a biological genetic giver, but a linguistic skill learned in human history. Previous to that transitional period, human volition consisted of hearing voices called gods, a relationship I am calling the bicameral mind.