Cogprints

HOW COULD CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCES AFFECT BRAINS?

Velmans, Professor Max (2002) HOW COULD CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCES AFFECT BRAINS? [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:

[img]HTML
206Kb

Abstract

In everyday life we take it for granted that we have conscious control of some of our actions and that the part of us that exercises control is the conscious mind. Psychosomatic medicine also assumes that the conscious mind can affect body states, and this is supported by evidence that the use of imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback and other ‘mental interventions’ can be therapeutic in a variety of medical conditions. However, there is no accepted theory of mind/body interaction and this has had a detrimental effect on the acceptance of mental causation in science, philosophy and in many areas of clinical practice. Biomedical accounts typically translate the effects of mind into the effects of brain functioning, for example, explaining mind/body interactions in terms of the interconnections and reciprocal control of cortical, neuroendocrine, autonomic and immune systems. While such accounts are instructive, they are implicitly reductionist, and beg the question of how conscious experiences could have bodily effects. On the other hand, non-reductionist accounts have to cope with three problems: 1) The physical world appears causally closed, which would seem to leave no room for conscious intervention. 2) One is not conscious of one’s own brain/body processing, so how could there be conscious control of such processing? 3) Conscious experiences appear to come too late to causally affect the processes to which they most obviously relate. This paper suggests a way of understanding mental causation that resolves these problems. It also suggests that “conscious mental control” needs to be partly understood in terms of the voluntary operations of the preconscious mind, and that this allows an account of biological determinism that is compatible with experienced free will.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Additional Information:Target article for Special Issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies
Keywords:consciousness, causality, brains, reductionism, physicalism, dual-aspect theory, complementary perspectives, first-person, third-person, psychosomatic, psychophysical, psychoneuroimmunology, mind
Subjects:Neuroscience > Neuropsychology
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:2750
Deposited By:Velmans, Professor Max,
Deposited On:31 Jan 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Baars, B.J. and McGovern, K. (1996) ‘Cognitive views of consciousness: What are the facts? How can we explain them?’, in M. Velmans (ed.) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.

Barber, T. X. (1984) ‘Changing “unchangeable” bodily processes by (hypnotic) suggestions: a new look at hypnosis, cognitions, imagining, and the mind-body problem’, in A.A. Sheikh (ed.) Imagination and Healing, Farmingdale, N.Y.: Bayworld.

Boomer, D. S. (1970) ‘Review of F. Goldman-Eisler Psycholinguistics: Experiments in spontaneous speech’, Lingua 25:152-164.

Broad, C.D. (1925) The Mind and Its Place in Nature, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Crick, F. (1994) The Astonishing Hypothesis: The scientific search for the soul, London: Simon & Schuster.

Dewar, E. M. (1976) ‘Consciousness in control systems theory’, in G. G. Globus, G. Maxwell, and I. Savodnik (eds) Consciousness and the Brain, New York: Plenum.

Flew, A. (ed.) (1978) Body, Mind, and Death, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.

Fodor, J.A., Bever, T.G. and Garrett, M.F.(1974) The Psychology of language, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Gardner, H. (1987) The Mind’s New Science, New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Goldman-Eisler, F.(1968) Psycholinguistics: Experiments in spontaneous speech, New York: Academic Press.

Hashish, I., Finman, C. and Harvey, W. (1988) ‘Reduction of postoperative pain and swelling by ultrasound: a placebo effect’, Pain 83: 303-311.

Kanttinen, N. and Lyytinen, H. (1993) ‘Brain slow waves preceding time-locked visuo-motor performance’, Journal of Sport Sciences 11, 257-266.

Karrer, R., Warren, C. and Ruth, R. (1978) ‘Slow potentials of the brain preceding cued and non-cued movement: effects of development and retardation’, in D.A. Otto (ed) Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Event-Related Potential Research, Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Kihlstrom, J.F. (1996) ‘Perception without awareness of what is perceived, learning without awareness of what is learned’, in M. Velmans (ed.) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.

Kornhuber, H.H. and Deecke, L. (1965) Hirnpotentialänderungen bei willkürbewegungen und passiven bewegungen des menchen: Bereitschaftspotential und reafferente potentiale. Pflügers Archiv für die Gesampte Physiologie des Menschen und Tiere 284:1-17.

Lenneberg, E.H. (1967) Biological foundations of language, New York:Wiley.

Libet, B. (1985) ‘Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8:529-566.

Libet, B. (1996) ‘Neural processes in the production of conscious experience’, in M. Velmans (ed.) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge

Libet, B., Wright Jr., E.W., Feinstein, B. and Pearl, D.K. (1979) ‘Subjective referral of the timing for a conscious experience: A functional role for the somatosensory specific projection system in man’, Brain 102:193-224.

Mangan, B. (1993) ‘Taking phenomenology seriously: The “fringe” and its implications for cognitive research’, Consciousness and Cognition 2(2):89-108.

McMahon, C.E. and Sheikh, A. (1989) ‘Psychosomatic illness: a new look’, in A. Sheikh and K. Sheikh (eds) Eastern and Western Approaches to Healing, New York: Wiley-Interscience.

Pelletier, K. R. (1993) ‘Between mind and body: stress, emotions, and health’, in D. Goleman and J. Gurin (eds.) Mind Body Medicine: How to use your mind for better health. New York: Consumer Reports Books.

Place, U. (1956) ‘Is consciousness a brain process?’ British Journal of Psychology 47:44-50.

Searle, J. (1987) ‘Minds and brains without programs’, in C. Blakemore and S. Greenfield (eds) Mindwaves, Oxford: Blackwell.

Searle, J. ( 1992) The Rediscovery of the Mind, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Searle, J. (1994a) ‘The problem of consciousness’, in A. Revonsuo and M. Kamppinen (eds) Consciousness in Philosophy and Cognitive Neuroscience, Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Searle, J. (1994b) ‘Intentionality (1)’, in S. Guttenplan (ed) A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Blackwell.

Searle, J. (1997) The Mystery of Consciousness, London: Granta Books.

Smart, J.J.C. (1962) ‘Sensations and brain processes’, in V.C. Chappell (ed) Philosophy of Mind, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Sheikh, A. A. (ed.) (2001) Healing Images: The Role of Imagination in the Healing Process. Amityville, New York: Baywood Publishing Company,.

Sheikh, A. A., Kunzendorf, R.G. and Sheikh, K.S. (1996) ‘Somatic consequences of consciousness’, in M. Velmans (ed.) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.

Skrabanek, P. and McCormick, J. (1989) Follies and fallacies in medicine, Glasgow: The Tarragon Press.

Sperry, R.W. (1969) ‘A modified concept of consciousness’, Psychological Review 76(6): 532-536.

Stoffregen, T. A. and Benoît, G. B. (2001) ‘On specification of the senses’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(2):195-261.

Syrjala, K. A. and Abrams, J.R. (1996) ‘Hypnosis and imagery in the treatment of pain’, in R.J. Catchel and D.C. Turk (eds.) Psychological Approaches to Pain Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook, New York: The Guildford Press.

Tye, M. (1995) Ten Problems of Consciousness: A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Velmans, M. (1990) ‘Consciousness, brain, and the physical world’, Philosophical Psychology 3: 77-99.

Velmans, M. (1991a) ‘Is human information processing conscious?’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4): 651-669.

Velmans, M. (1991b) ‘Consciousness from a first-person perspective’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4): 702-726.

Velmans, M. (1993) ‘Consciousness, causality and complementarity’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16(2): 409-416.

Velmans, M (ed) (1996a) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.

Velmans, M. (1996b) ‘Consciousness and the “causal paradox”.’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19(3): 537-542.

Velmans, M. (1998) ‘Goodbye to reductionism.’ In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak & A. Scott (eds) Towards a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, pp 45-52.

Velmans, M. (2000) Understanding Consciousness. London: Routledge/Psychology Press.

Velmans, M. (2001a) ‘A natural account of phenomenal consciousness.’ Consciousness and Communication, 34 (1&2): 39-59.

Velmans, M. (2001b) ‘Heterophenomenology versus critical phenomenology: A dialogue with Dan Dennett. http://cogprints.soton.ac.uk/documents/disk0/00/00/17/95/index.html

Wall, P.D. (1996) ‘The placebo effect’, in M. Velmans (ed) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.

Watkins, A. (1997) ‘Mind-body pathways’, in A. Watkins (ed.) Mind-Body Medicine: A Clinician’s Guide to Psychoneuroimmunology. New York: Churchill Livingstone.

Watt, D. (2000) ‘The centrencephalon and thalamocortical integration: Neglected contributions of periaqueductal gray. Consciousness and Emotion 1(1): 91-114.

Metadata

Repository Staff Only: item control page