The review of Julian Jaynes' conception of consciousness


  • Konstantin Rayhert Odessa I. I. Mechnikov National University, Ukraine



consciousness, metaphor, natural language, philosophy of mind, psychology


The study reviews the Julian Jaynes' hypothesis that explains the origins of consciousness; it is so called "Bicameralism" or "Philosophy of bicamerality". The hypothesis is a combination of four hypotheses. According to the first hypothesis consciousness is considered as that what is based on natural language and is a functional mind-space, that is, a subjective conscious mind based on metaphors. For the explanation of a metaphor Julian Jaynes created his own conception of metaphor within the framework of which a metaphor is considered as a mental action expressed in words through a paraphrasing and consists of two elements - metaphier and metaphrand. Moreover, consciousness has the following characteristics: 'I', concentration, suppression, and consilience. According the second hypothesis the other mentality (the bicameral mind) preceded consciousness in evolution and history. The bicameral mind is based on auditory verbal hallucinations. According the third hypothesis about 1200 BC there was a breakdown of the human being bicameral mind that caused the origination of human being consciousness. Under the fourth hypothesis the bicameral mind was resulted by the double brain, a state of cerebrum by which experiences and memoirs of the right cerebral hemisphere were transmitted into the left cerebral hemisphere by the means of auditory verbal hallucinations because each normal cerebral hemisphere was constantly communicated with another one through corpus callosum. In view of the fact that some changes within corpus callosum were occurred the breakdown of the bicameral mind and the origination of consciousness came to pass.

Author Biography

Konstantin Rayhert, Odessa I. I. Mechnikov National University

Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Associate professor


Podzolkova, N. A. & Shershnev, E. L. (2012). The Bicameral Mind and the Platonic Transformation of Consciousness. The World of Science, Culture, Education. № 1(32), pp. 277-279 (rus).

Cavanna, A. E. & Cinti, F. & Monaco, F. & Trimble, M. (2007). The “Bicameral Mind” 30 Years on: a Critical Reappraisal of Julian Jaynes’ Hypothesis. Functional Neurology. № 1(22), pp. 10-15.

Asaad, G. & Shapiro, B. (1987). Drs. Asaad and Shapiro Reply. American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 144. № 5, p. 696. DOI: 10.1176/ajp.144.5.696-c

Fauconnier, G. & Turner, M. (2003). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. Basic Books, New York.

Jaspers, K. (1953). The Origin and Goal of History. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Jaynes, J. (1986). Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind. Canadian Psychology. № 2, pp. 128-148. DOI: 10.1037/h0080053.

Jaynes, J. (2000). The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. A Mariner Book, Boston; New York.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226470993.001.0001.

Mulaik, S. A. (1995). The Metaphoric Origins of Objectivity, Subjectivity, and Consciousness in the Direct Perception of Reality. Philosophy of Science. № 2, pp. 283-303. DOI: 10.1086/289857.

Saussure F., de. (2011). Course of General Linguistics, Columbia University Press, New York.



How to Cite

Rayhert, K. (2017). The review of Julian Jaynes’ conception of consciousness. Skhid, (2(148), 101–104.