Consciousness, New Thinking About

JGC9 jgcasey at
Thu Jun 20 18:47:31 EST 2002

"John H." <John at overhere> wrote in message
news:X8AP8.1$zp2.68 at
> No dualism at all, I'm simply saying that there is more than one way to be
> conscious of the world. What my brain perceives and what I perceive are
> entirely different things. It all happens in the head, but I am not my
> brain, nor am I some ghost, I am just one means by which the brain
> 'responds' too the environment.

Then I am unclear as to what you _mean_ when you write that 'you'
(meaning sentience) are just one means by which the brain 'responds'
to the environment.

To perceive usually means to be conscious. So I would have to read
the above that the brain is conscious (it perceives) and 'you' (whoever
that is) is also conscious???

To me the evidence so far is that consciousness is a brain process
not a thing.

> Yes I'm partly confused by all this if only because of the semantics re
> consciousness. Keep in mind that the model I'm using in these posts is
> from Damasio, so I'm working with a primal consciousness base from which
> consciousness can differentiate according to the structure of any given
> So there is base of consciousness but then a sort of continuum of
> consciousness. I find it interesting that in studying consciousness so
> people look to the neocortex, yet massive damage to the neocortex, even
> prefrontals, will not abolish consciousness. However brainstem damage or
> thalamic damage can easily do that. The root of consciousness lies deep in
> the brain, not on the surface. This is one reason why I believe many
> have primal consciousness. Neuroanatomy is an essential feature of
> consciousness, it is not just neurons and synchronous firing or whatever,
> the neuroanatomy is essential in the creation of consciousness.

The brainstem is required for the maintenance of consciousness but I
would be cautious about claiming a 'primal consciousness' for it.

The two issues are:
 1. The mechanism of consciousness
 2. The contents of consciousness

> The best global models I have found re the underlying dynamics of
> consciousness have been Edelman's TNGS, Dennett to some extent, and the
> concepts of Walter Freeman, all of which emphasise multiple reentrant
> pathways in the brain, a common neuroanatomical feature. That's as far as
> they go and its as far as I can get with the question. It just may be all
> there is. To my knowledge no-one in AI has attempted to build devices that
> handle multiple representations of reality that have to be integrated in
> some fashion.

By 'multiple representations of reality' are you writing about the
integrations of different modalities or the integration of feature
analysis. I don't see either as a problem for AI or an explanation
of consciousness.

Are you refering to the unified experience of consciousness
despite the fact that it is made up of the outputs from different
modules widely separated in the brain? The so called binding


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