the forms of conscious, intentional activity humans share
with other animals, and also the special "higher-order"
consciousness that developed through symbolic
communication in human communities.
What I would like to ask readers of this board are some
of your opinions of Edelman's model of consciousness, and
how it is generally regarded in the field. I have had a
fairly extensive undergraduate background in the
neurosciences, so was able to understand Edelman's
arguments. I am not in touch with the neuroscience
community, however, and I suspect that Edelman's bold
effort was met with some skepticism, especially since
much was speculative.
I was impressed by Edelman's care in addressing the
difficult empirical and philosophical issues in trying to
bridge the gaps between human behavior and physiology,
and I think he was largely successful in avoiding the
reduction of one to the other. What I found most
impressive in Edelman's model is its compatibility with
George Herbert Mead's theories of human consciousness,
nearly point for point. Mead's 65 year-old theories form
the basis of much work in sociological social psychology,
and so the neurophysiological dimension would provide
grounds for expanding, modifying, and perhaps rejecting
portions of Mead's theory. I have noted a few limitations
in Edelman's theory, but I hope I can justify it as a
central model for further integrating these two fields.
Thank you in advance for your help
Dept. of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara
6500fear at ucsbuxa.ucsb.edu