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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Consciousness is the subjective state of awareness of the sensible world. This chapter focuses on the process of being conscious of something, and examines in detail the most significant abnormalities that affect consciousness. Consciousness is distinguished from attention, although both are related. The pivotal role of consciousness in phenomenology is discussed and the tensions between the understandings of consciousness in phenomenology and the manner in which abnormalities of consciousness in practice present and conflict with theoretical notions are examined. Dimensional and qualitative changes in consciousness are dealt with. Delirium, a state of global impairment of cognitive functions and reduced level of consciousness, is used as an illustration of the nature of qualitative changes of consciousness. The subjective experience of disorders of attention in schizophrenia and mood disorders are examined and illustrated by case examples. Finally, disorders of awareness, in particular unilateral neglect and related conditions, and blindsight are also described.

Keywords: consciousness, attention, awareness, delirium, unilateral neglect, blindsight

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