This volume is product of the third online consciousness conference, held at http://consciousnessonline.com in February and March 2011. Chapters range over epistemological issues in the science and philosophy of perception, what neuroscience can do to help us solve philosophical issues in the philosophy of mind, what the true nature of black and white vision, pain, auditory, olfactory, or multi-modal experiences are, to higher-order theories of consciousness, synesthesia, among others. Each chapter includes a target article, commentaries, and in most cases, a final response from the author. Though wide-ranging all of the papers aim to understand consciousness both from the inside, as we experience it, and from the outside as we encounter it in our science. The Online Consciousness Conference, founded and organized by Richard Brown, is dedicated to the rigorous study of consciousness and mind. The goal is to bring philosophers, scientists, and interested lay persons together in an online venue to promote high-level discussion and exchanging of views, ideas and data related to the scientific and philosophical study of consciousness.
In this volume, cognitive scientists and philosophers examine two closely related aspects of mind and mental functioning: the relationships among the various senses and the links that connect different conscious experiences to form unified wholes. The contributors address a range of questions concerning how information from one sense influences the processing of information from the other senses and how unified states of consciousness emerge from the bonds that tie conscious experiences together. Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness is the first book to address both of these topics, integrating scientific and philosophical concerns.A flood of recent work in both philosophy and perception science has challenged traditional conceptions of the sensory systems as operating in isolation. Contributors to the volume consider the ways in which perceptual contact with the world is or may be "multisensory," discussing such subjects as the modeling of multisensory integration and philosophical aspects of sensory modalities. Recent years have seen a similar surge of interest in unity of consciousness. Contributors explore a range of questions on this topic, including the nature of that unity, the degree to which conscious experiences are unified, and the relationship between unified consciousness and the self. ContributorsTim Bayne, David J. Bennett, Berit Brogaard, Barry Dainton, Ophelia Deroy, Frederique de Vignemont, Marc Ernst, Richard Held, Christopher S. Hill, Geoffrey Lee, Kristan Marlow, Farid Masrour, Jennifer Matey, Casey O'Callaghan, Cesare V. Parise, Kevin Rice, Elizabeth Schechter, Pawan Sinha, Julia Trommershaeuser, Loes C. J. van Dam, Jonathan Vogel, James Van Cleve, Robert Van Gulick, Jonas Wulff
Despite recent strides in neuroscience and psychology that have deepened understanding of the brain, consciousness remains one of the greatest philosophical and scientific puzzles. The second edition of Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment provides a fresh and up-to-date introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, and contributes to the current lively debate about the nature of consciousness and whether a scientific understanding of it is possible. After an initial overview of the status and prospects of physicalism in the face of the problem of consciousness, William Seager explores key themes from Descartes - the founder of the modern problem of consciousness. He then turns to the most important theories of consciousness: identity theories and the generation problem higher-order thought theories of consciousness self-representational theories of consciousness Daniel Dennett’s theory of consciousness attention-based theories of consciousness representational theories of consciousness conscious intentionality panpsychism neutral monism. Thoroughly revised and expanded throughout, this second edition includes new chapters on animal consciousness, reflexive consciousness, combinatorial forms of panpsychism and neutral monism, as well as a significant new chapter on physicalism, emergence and consciousness. The book’s broad scope, depth of coverage and focus on key philosophical positions and arguments make it an indispensable text for those teaching or studying philosophy of mind and psychology. It is also an excellent resource for those working in related fields such as cognitive science and the neuroscience of consciousness.
Synaesthesia is a condition in which a stimulus elicits an additional subjective experience. For example, the letter E printed in black (the inducer) may trigger an additional colour experience as a concurrent (e.g., blue). Synaesthesia tends to run in families and thus, a genetic component is likely. However, given that the stimuli that typically induce synaesthesia are cultural artefacts, a learning component must also be involved. Moreover, there is evidence that synaesthetic experiences not only activate brain areas typically involved in processing sensory input of the concurrent modality; synaesthesia seems to cause a structural reorganisation of the brain. Attempts to train non-synaesthetes with synaesthetic associations have been successful in mimicking certain behavioural aspects and posthypnotic induction of synaesthetic experiences in non-synaesthetes has even led to the according phenomenological reports. These latter findings suggest that structural brain reorganization may not be a critical precondition, but rather a consequence of the sustained coupling of inducers and concurrents. Interestingly, synaesthetes seem to be able to easily transfer synaesthetic experiences to novel stimuli. Beyond this, certain drugs (e.g., LSD) can lead to synaesthesia-like experiences and may provide additional insights into the neurobiological basis of the condition. Furthermore, brain damage can both lead to a sudden presence of synaesthetic experiences in previously non-synaesthetic individuals and a sudden absence of synaesthesia in previously synaesthetic individuals. Moreover, enduring sensory substitution has been effective in inducing a kind of acquired synaesthesia. Besides informing us about the cognitive mechanisms of synaesthesia, synaesthesia research is relevant for more general questions, for example about consciousness such as the binding problem, about crossmodal correspondences and about how individual differences in perceiving and experiencing the world develop. Hence the aim of the current Research Topic is to provide novel insights into the development of synaesthesia both in its genuine and acquired form. We welcome novel experimental work and theoretical contributions (e.g., review and opinion articles) focussing on factors such as brain maturation, learning, training, hypnosis, drugs, sensory substitution and brain damage and their relation to the development of any form of synaesthesia.
Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality presents a variety of perspectives by leading thinkers on contemporary research into the brain, the mind and the spirit. This volumes aims at combining knowledge from neuroscience with approaches from the experiential perspective of the first person singular in order to arrive at an integrated understanding of consciousness. Individual chapters discuss new areas of research, such as near death studies and neuroscience research into spiritual experiences, and report on significant new theoretical advances. From Harald Walach’s introductory essay, “Neuroscience, Consciousness, Spirituality – Questions, Problems and Potential Solutions,” to the concluding chapter by Robert K. C. Foreman entitled “An Emerging New Model for Consciousness: The Consciousness Field Model,” this book represents a milestone in the progress towards an integrated understanding of spirituality, neuroscience and consciousness. It is the first in a series of books that are dedicated to this topic.
When I began to study psychology a half century ago, it was defined as "the study of behavior and experience." By the time I completed my doctorate, shortly after the end of World War II, the last two words were fading rapidly. In one of my first graduate classes, a course in statistics, the professor announced on the first day, "Whatever exists, exists in some number." We dutifully wrote that into our notes and did not pause to recognize that thereby all that makes life meaningful was being consigned to oblivion. This bland restructuring-perhaps more accurately, destruction-of the world was typical of its time, 1940. The influence of a narrow scientistic attitude was already spreading throughout the learned disciplines. In the next two decades it would invade and tyrannize the "social sciences," education, and even philosophy. To be sure, quantification is a powerful tool, selectively employed, but too often it has been made into an executioner's axe to deny actuality to all that does not yield to its procrustean demands.
Encompasses a summary of major research and scientific thought regarding the nature of consciousness, the neural circuitry involved, how the brain, body, and world interact, and our understanding of subjective states.