Symbol and symbolic consciousness

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Abstract

The article is devoted to the analysis of symbol regarding it as a mediator in the relationship between the man and the world and as something which necessary exists in every culture. It also reviews specifics of symbolic consciousness. The author focuses on the distinction between sign and symbol and on the specificity of symbol in comparison with sign. The article shows that symbol is a universal medium for regulating spiritual and practical experience that allows one to reveal and actualize meanings of holistic existence in the process of interaction with reality. Such meanings cannot be objectified or recognized by means of rational forms or signs. The author forms a hypothesis that there is a special type of consciousness in the structure of consciousness itself, in which symbolic formations are quite active. Charged with unrecognized and unconscious attitudes, deep meanings related to one's personality, and motives, this area of consciousness reveals itself in a special «non-reflective», non-sign form, that is, in a form of symbolic consciousness. The integrality of one's perception of the world is determined by symbolic functions of consciousness that define the potentialities of people's attitude (also charged with deep meanings) towards the world they are integrated in.

General Information

Keywords: symbol, sign, consciousness, analogy, association, interpretation, perception of the world, meanings, values, experience

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Symbol and symbolic consciousness. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2006. Vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 3–10. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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