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The Disunity of Consciousness

O'Brien, Gerard and Opie, Jon (1998) The Disunity of Consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

It is commonplace for both philosophers and cognitive scientists to express their allegiance to the "unity of consciousness". This is the claim that a subject’s phenomenal consciousness, at any one moment in time, is a single thing. This view has had a major influence on computational theories of consciousness. In particular, what we call single-track theories dominate the literature, theories which contend that our conscious experience is the result of a single consciousness-making process or mechanism in the brain. We argue that the orthodox view is quite wrong: phenomenal experience is not a unity, in the sense of being a single thing at each instant. It is a multiplicity, an aggregate of phenomenal elements, each of which is the product of a distinct consciousness-making mechanism in the brain. Consequently, cognitive science is in need of a multi-track theory of consciousness; a computational model that acknowledges both the manifold nature of experience, and its distributed neural basis.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:connectionism, philosophy of mind, phenomenal consciousness, single-track theory of consciousness, multi-track theory of consciousness
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:1413
Deposited By:Opie, Jon
Deposited On:29 Mar 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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