The state of being conscious or aware, which includes a sense of one's personal or collective identity, especially the complex of attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or a group, especially at a given moment (as opposed to "mind" which is the sum of past conscious moments). Many twentieth century thinkers, both in philosophy and in the medical sciences, describe consciousness on a materialist model as a byproduct of synaptic exchanges (whether described in chemical, electrical, or neurological terms). Also used to refer to a special awareness or sensitivity to a concern, an issue, or a situation.Also see attention, context, epistemology, gestalt, knowledge, meaning, perception, phenomenology, and seeing.