Necessary conditions for consciousness

MS marshmallow5 at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 7 15:42:23 EST 2001


I've considered this possibility, but I keep running into the fact that
removing any part of the body doesn't seem to reduce ones consciousness.
They perceive the lack of the body part perhaps, and they may have an
emotional adjustment, but there is nothing to suggest there is a loss of
consciousness. In contrast, altering any part of the brain can produce a
marked loss or change of consciousness.


L.A. Loren <lloren at mitre.org> wrote in message
news:3A8173E7.BA1D80EB at mitre.org...
> Jeffrey Kazuo Yoshimi wrote:
> >
> [snip]
> > Assume that for a brain to produce conscious experience...
> [snip]
>
> You may want to consider the possibility that it is not brains that are
> conscious (or that produce conscious experience), but rather bodies.
> This is not to say that brains aren't an important part, clearly they
> are. What I'm suggesting is that it might not make sense to focus on the
> brain alone and exclude the rest of the body. It might be argued, for
> example, that your eyes are really just your brain sticking out the
> front of your head. If I'm not mistaken, there is also some evidence
> that rudimentary processing is occurring in the retina. I can't think of
> any principled reason to say that the computational processes that
> underlie consciousness occur only in the brain but not at all in, say,
> the spinal column. Where subjective experience is concerned, it
> certainly feels as if my body is conscious (toes, fingertips, etc.).
> There's also unilateral neglect, phantom limb syndrome, synesthesia,
> etc. which at least suggest that the body is best understood as a whole
> as opposed to a mode of transportation for the brain. If there is
> someone at your University who teaches Merleau-Ponty you might want to
> take a course or an independent study. He argues (persuasively I think)
> that notions like "intelligence" and "consciousness" belong to the body
> as whole, and not to the brain alone (although once again, the brain is
> clearly a very important piece of meat). With regard to Cartesian
> dualism, Jean-Paul Sartre pointed out that the best way to unify the
> mind and body is not to separate them in the first place. You might want
> to consider the possibility that it would be better not to separate the
> brain from the body if you plan to explain how they function together at
> some later time.
>
> Just a thought.
> Lew







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