Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The Conscious Brain

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Author: Jesse J. Prinz, Published by Oxford University Press (2012) Summary and review of the above book INTRODUCTION: Prinz argues that a theory of consciousness requires a process, and also a location in the brain for that process to take effect. The direction of attention is seen as necessary and sufficient for consciousness to arise. The location is argued to be the secondary or intermediate cortex. Consciousness generated in this area is then used by the working memory for deliberative processing; Read more […]

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Dehaene’s Consciousness and the Brain

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Consciousness and the Brain, Stanislas Dehaene (2014) Summary and review of the above book INTRODUCTION: On the basis of the brain research of recent years, Dehaene describes both the extent and limitations of unconscious processing. Such processing can extend to sophisticated levels of cortical processing, such as the meaning of words. However, unconscious signals are transient and decay rapidly in the brain, while conscious signals can persist long after the original stimuli. Decision taking Read more […]

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Relational and propositional quantum consciousness

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Knowing, Doing and Being Chris Clarke Imprint Academic (2013) Summary and review of this book INTRODUCTION:  Clarke views decisions as arising from ‘a strand of feeling’, also called a relational system. The other kind of consciousness is suggested to be the  verbal or propositional system. Consciousness understands existence through the relational system; detailed structures are understood through the propositional. Clarke argues for a clear division between the classical and the Read more […]

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Radical plasticity thesis

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The radical plasticity thesis: How the brain learns to be conscious Axel Cleeremans Frontiers of Psychology (2011) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110832/ Summary and review of this article Cleeremans starts by discussing the thermostat and by extension other simple automated equipment, which the philosopher, David Chalmers, suggested to be capable of being conscious because they processed information. Cleeremans argues that processing of information, such as levels of Read more […]

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The self, consciousness and will

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Response to a debate on Fate, Freedom and Neuroscience at the Institute of Arts and Ideas, London This debate highlighted some of the problems that bedevil modern consciousness studies. One such problem is the tendency to elide the self with consciousness. A more detailed analysis suggests that the self is not the same thing as consciousness, but instead merely a part of the contents of consciousness. The main components of the self are, firstly the necessary distinction between the body and the Read more […]

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What is it like to be a quark

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Pat Lewtas Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20 No. 9-10, pp. 39-64 Lewtas argues that a theory of panpsychism has to make sense of the bottom level of experience, and it also has to explain how this bottom-level experience relates to higher levels such as human consciousness. The bottom-level experience is seen as being an internal aspect of a bottom-level physical object, and not as can be argued with humans, a response to external entities or signals. In this paper, quarks are used as a Read more […]

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Panpsychism in the West

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Panpsychism in the West David Skrbina Skrbina defines panpsychsim as the belief that all things have a mind-like quality. This appears to have been the dominant view in pre-historical times, in the form of animism. He tries to make a distinction between animism, in which he claims the spirits of objects, trees etc. appear as human-like rational agents, in contrast to the later and more sophisticated philosophical panpsychism. This is in turn contrasted with the modern western idea of a mechanical Read more […]

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The Myths We Live By

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Mary Midgley Routledge (Taylor Francis Group) (2003) Midgley is critical of many aspects of modern scientific thinking. Much of this remains rooted in the 17th – 19th century mechanical physics rather than the acausality of modern physics. She examines the currently fashionable idea of explaining the mind in terms of epiphenomalism, with consciousness claimed to be a by-product of mental processes that can have no influence on the workings of the brain. She highlights the problem of why evolution Read more […]

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Beliefs about consciousness

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Beliefs about consciousness Imants Baruss Kings University College, London, Ontario Journal of Consciousness Studies, 15, No. 10-11, 2008, pp. 277-92 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs The paper comprises a study that relates (1.) the degree to which people are rational in their approach to the world, (2.) the degree to which they are curious, and (3.) their score on conventional measures of intelligence, to three main categories of belief system. These are (1.) conventional Read more […]

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Bernard Baars and Stan Franklin

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Two varieties of unconscious processing Stan Franklin and Bernard Baars In:- New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness – Eds. Elaine Perry, Daniel Collerton, Fiona LeBeau & Heather Ashton The authors distinguish between two forms of the unconscious, processing that is unconscious, but could become conscious, and processing that is never conscious. Material is argued to be capable of becoming conscious if it is relevant for determining what is the most important aspect of the Read more […]

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