Julian Jaynes


Born
in West Newton, Massachusetts, The United States
February 27, 1920

Died
November 21, 1997

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Julian Jaynes was an American psychologist, best known for his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), in which he argued that ancient peoples were not conscious.
Jaynes defines "consciousness" more narrowly than some philosophers. Jaynes' definition of consciousness is synonymous with what philosophers now call "meta-consciousness" or "meta-awareness" i.e. awareness of awareness, thoughts about thinking, desires about desires, beliefs about beliefs. This form of reflection is also distinct from the kinds of "deliberations" seen in other higher animals such as crows insofar as Jaynesian consciousness is dependent on linguistic cognition.

Average rating: 4.24 · 3,760 ratings · 472 reviews · 7 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Origin of Consciousness...

4.25 avg rating — 3,563 ratings — published 1976 — 28 editions
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Consciousness and the Voice...

4.71 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 1985 — 2 editions
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La natura diacronica della ...

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3.86 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2014 — 2 editions
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Historical Conceptions of P...

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4.33 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 1973
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La Naissance de la Conscien...

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Reflections on the Dawn of ...

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4.09 avg rating — 180 ratings — published 2006 — 3 editions
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The Julian Jaynes Collection

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4.33 avg rating — 30 ratings — published 2012
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More books by Julian Jaynes…
“O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and yet may do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet is nothing at all - what is it?
And where did it come from?
And why?”
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

“Our sense of justice depends on our sense of time. Justice is a phenomenon only of consciousness, because time spread out in a spatial succession is its very essence. And this is possible only in a spatial metaphor of time.”
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

“All of these concrete metaphors increase enormously our powers of perception of the world about us and our understanding of it, and literally create new objects. Indeed, language is an organ of perception, not simply a means of communication.”
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

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