Space and the Construction of Consciousness: A Discussion in Two Acts

Dr Gabriel Bukobza,
Yehuda Zvi Mendelson
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1) Coming into consciousness in the world: The Relation between Mind and Reality in Proust's 'Remembrance of Things Past'

2) The Ethical Dimension of Space: Kafka and Camus meet 'Before the Gate'

What is the relationship between space and consciousness? Do they matter to one another? Is the one determined by the other?

We'll discuss the relations between external space and internal consciousness, suggesting that interactive and constructive relationships generate and mold the experience and the function of the mind.

The first part will examine the role of objects and space in constituting and maintaining consciousness. The discussion will focus on Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu and the way by which it interprets the correspondences between reality and mind. The question is: what is the mechanism that first triggers and later maintains conscious experience in humans? It is postulated that consciousness is a result of the interaction between the spatial world of objects and basic psychic processes such as sensation, feeling and memory. The text suggests that consciousness is awakened by the existence of external physical reality and is governed and directed by its objects, boundaries, and attributions.

The second part will examine the idea of an ethical dimension of space, and its relation to consciousness. It will interpret the spatial metaphors of Kafka in The Trial and Camus in The Plague and will discuss real-life architectural examples.

In The trial, it is unclear whether K's consciousness determines the character of the space in which he plays a role, or is it the ubiquitous space which defines for K the role that he must perform? In The Plague the question lingers: Is it only the closed gates of the city which ambiguously create a space of 'imprisonment’ and a feeling of ‘exile’?

We'll discuss with the audience excerpts from the texts and examples of livable spaces. We assume that these suggest innovative metaphors and concepts for the understanding of the complicated interaction between reality and consciousness.

Keywords: Consciousness, Space, Reality, Ethics, Proust, Kafka, Camus
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr Gabriel Bukobza

External Lecturer, School of Education, Hebrew University

Dr. Bukobza is an external lecturer at the Hebrew University School of Education and at the Ruppin College Psychology department. He has recently (2004) received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University. His thesis was entitled "Ways of Knowing: Epistemological Development in Adulthood", and it dealt with the potential for growth in complexity of knowledge structures in the adult mind.
During his doctoral studies he spent a year at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as an Associate in Education.
Dr. Bukobza has presented his work in various places including HGSE at Cambridge, the 2005 APS convention in Chicago, and the 2005 cross-cultural conference in Xian, China.
His main research and teaching interests include Consciousness, the Self, Epistemological Development, teaching and teachers, father-son relations, rebellious adolescents, emerging adulthood, and Cultural Psychology.
Dr. Bukobza resides in the city of Tel-Aviv, Israel on the coast of the Mediterranean.

Yehuda Zvi Mendelson

Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies, Bar Ilan University

Mr. Mendelson has been a practicing architect and urban designer for the past few years. He holds a BArch from the Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem, and an Architecture "prix d'excellence" from Paul Virilio , ESA Paris 1997. Recently, he has chosen to devote himself to the study of the field and is working on a Ph. D. thesis entitled "Seeking the Ethical dimension of space" in the Bar-Ilan University. In the past year he has published two papers dealing with the ethical dimension of space.

Ref: H06P0245