Chapter 1: A Place for Consciousness


by hypnagogue
Tags: chapter, consciousness
Tsunami
Tsunami is offline
#55
Apr23-06, 01:13 AM
P: 92
Hi,

I just started reading into this discussion, and have read these first 4 pages regarding the first chapter. I've no own background on this subject, just a very w(a/o)ndering mind.

If this drifts too far from the book discussion, do say so.

1. Regarding blind sight:

I believe Pinker defines two aspects of mind, namely sensation and perception. Is there any difference between p-consciousness and sensation, or a-consciousness and perception?
In any case, I think the plausible explanation of blind sight is that to make a conscious effort, your p-consciousness needs to be triggered, however, it's your a-consciousness that performs the mental functions. Therefore, if your p-consciousness is triggered by alternative means (ie. the experimenter giving a verbal cue), you can still perform the mental function.

2. I fail to see why distinguishing between representational consciousness and non-representational consciousness is a good idea. I'm reading Gombrich's Art and Illusion, and it illustrates that our way of representing experiences is something that we learn, something that is a gradual process. I think it's very misleading to describe this representation as if it's an independent, or an at least in some way isolatable aspect of our consciousness. That is, I don't see how this is a process which needs any kind of special institution. I think it's far more likely that representation is just a different way of catagorising experiental data. But of course, these objections might be solved further on. My apologies if this is the case, I've some serious catching up to do.
hypnagogue
hypnagogue is offline
#56
May1-06, 01:46 AM
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Quote Quote by Tsunami
1. Regarding blind sight:

I believe Pinker defines two aspects of mind, namely sensation and perception. Is there any difference between p-consciousness and sensation, or a-consciousness and perception?
I don't know if Pinker has any idiosyncratic uses for those terms, but in general sensation just refers to the detection of environmental information by the senses, whereas perception involves integrating that sensory information into a coherent model of the environment. So sensation per se isn't really an aspect of consciousness itself, but rather a link in the flow of information from the world to the mind. Perception need not be conscious (e.g. as in subliminal perception), but when perception is conscious we can say it usually involves both p-consciousness (what the experience of perception is like, phenomenologically) and a-consciousness (being able to use the perceptual information to guide thought and behavior).

Quote Quote by Tsunami
In any case, I think the plausible explanation of blind sight is that to make a conscious effort, your p-consciousness needs to be triggered, however, it's your a-consciousness that performs the mental functions. Therefore, if your p-consciousness is triggered by alternative means (ie. the experimenter giving a verbal cue), you can still perform the mental function.
Not sure exactly what you mean here. But in general, if you're talking about something in consciousness needing to be triggered in order to do something else, you're probably talking about its access-consciousness aspect.

Quote Quote by Tsunami
2. I fail to see why distinguishing between representational consciousness and non-representational consciousness is a good idea. I'm reading Gombrich's Art and Illusion, and it illustrates that our way of representing experiences is something that we learn, something that is a gradual process. I think it's very misleading to describe this representation as if it's an independent, or an at least in some way isolatable aspect of our consciousness. That is, I don't see how this is a process which needs any kind of special institution. I think it's far more likely that representation is just a different way of catagorising experiental data. But of course, these objections might be solved further on. My apologies if this is the case, I've some serious catching up to do.
Again, not quite sure if I catch you exactly-- you may be using the word "representation" differently than it's being used here. The issue of representation was only brought up briefly in this chapter to paranthetically address representationalist theories of consciousness.


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