The idea of representation has been central in discussions of intentionality for many years. But only more recently has it begun playing a wider role in the philosophy of mind, particularly in theories of consciousness. More cautiously, each theory attempts to explain its target phenomenon in terms of intentionality , and assumes that intentionality is representation. Like public, social cases of representation such as writing or mapmaking, intentional states such as beliefs have truth-value; they entail or imply other beliefs; they are it seems composed of concepts and depend for their truth on a match between their internal structures and the way the world is; and so it is natural to regard their aboutness as a matter of mental referring or designation.
Self-Consciousness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
A thirty-year-old accident victim suffered lack of oxygen to her brain for six to twenty minutes. She was in a persistently comatose and vegetative state, sustained by a gastronomy feeding tube, although her respiration and circulation were normal. She was oblivious to her surroundings except for reflexive grimace-like responses to sound or pain. The patient was in a state of progressive spastic quadriplegia with irreversibly contracted extremities. The opinion of medical professionals was that she could live thirty-years. She now lies in a Missouri state hospital at the state's expense. Before the injury, Nancy Cruzan had been a "vivacious, active, outgoing, and independent person.
Rat Man: A Case of 'Obsessional Neurosis'
Human beings are conscious not only of the world around them but also of themselves: their activities, their bodies, and their mental lives. They are, that is, self-conscious or, equivalently, self-aware. Self-consciousness can be understood as an awareness of oneself.
Explaining the nature of consciousness is one of the most important and perplexing areas of philosophy, but the concept is notoriously ambiguous. When I am in a conscious mental state, there is something it is like for me to be in that state from the subjective or first-person point of view. But how are we to understand this? For instance, how is the conscious mental state related to the body?