Necessary conditions for consciousness

MEShinder meshinder at
Thu Feb 8 16:09:43 EST 2001

In article <3A82C109.DFE3B702 at>, "L.A. Loren" <lloren at>

>A phantom limb can
>then explained as the body mistakenly reporting that the limb is still
>present because the nerve endings in the affected area continue to
>report that something is there.

Not to get too far into the murky definition of 'consciousness', there is a
problem with this explaination as de-afferented neurons from the spinal cord up
will show erratic firing as a result of their own plasticity. This firing is
non-representative and can be seen in most any de-afferented neuron. Hence the
spontaneous nature of phantom limb sensations and phantom pain. The implication
that the brain is pinging the limb to see if it is there does not fit the
evidence or facts. 
As far as the consciousness arguement goes, my 2 cents is that the brain is the
representation, so it doesn't have to check anything. I agree that there is a
tendency to ignore the connectedness of the body (including the brain) to focus
on something in a vacuum; however, sometimes that's the best that can be done
here and now.

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