Necessary conditions for consciousness

MS marshmallow5 at
Wed Feb 7 21:03:52 EST 2001

Agreed, damage in some parts of the brain doesn't seem to impair
consciousness, at least not as far as we can tell. But damage to most parts
will produce some sort of qualitative alteration of consciousness. The
patients I've worked with who have traumatic brain injuries were conscious
(excepting those in a vegetative state), but the injury altered their
consciousness, particularly their self-awareness.

 Damage to a peripheral body part will affect its conscious representation
in the brain, but the conscious representation is in the brain. For example,
removal of an arm will create a lack of sensory experience of the arm in the
brain. However, a phantom limb is consciously perceived because of the
representation in the brain.

Not trying to be stubborn here--I remain open minded to others' arguments...
The dialog is appreciated.

By the way, I think it's important to distinguish between two common usages
of the term consciousness, which may ultimately be part of the same thing.
Some use the term to refer to an aroused, awake state while others use it to
refer to self-awareness. I guess I'm being slippery here and using it to
refer to both.

> I would say that the brain stretches through the body and therefore you
> feel things in and around your body, but that part of your brain is not
> necessary for consciousness to occur. Just as damages in a lot of other
> parts of your brain doesn't affect consciousness either. (I take it that
> mean consciousness and not memories or the ability to play soccer).
> Sorry for the rambling. What I want to say is that the brain can take a
> of damage and still have the 'experience of consciousness', and that you
> therefore can't say that it is the brain as a whole that is conscious, but
> rather a part of it.
> I hope that you can use this incoherent rambling for something (I have to
> to sleep now zzzZZZ)
> Christian Brandt (DK)

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