Time and the observer

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (2):183-201 (1992)
Two models of consciousness are contrasted with regard to their treatment of subjective timing. The standard Cartesian Theater model postulates a place in the brain where "it all comes together": where the discriminations in all modalities are somehow put into registration and "presented" for subjective judgment. In particular, the Cartesian Theater model implies that the temporal properties of the content-bearing events occurring within this privileged representational medium determine subjective order. The alternative, Multiple Drafts model holds that whereas the brain events that discriminate various perceptual contents are distributed in both space and time in the brain, and whereas the temporal properties of these various events are determinate, none of these temporal properties determine subjective order, since there is no single, constitutive "stream of consciousness" but rather a parallel stream of conflicting and continuously revised contents. Four puzzling phenomena that resist explanation by the standard model are analyzed: two results claimed by Libet, an apparent motion phenomenon involving color change (Kolers and von Grunau), and the "cutaneous rabbit" (Geldard and Sherrick) an illusion of evenly spaced series of "hops" produced by two or more widely spaced series of taps delivered to the skin. The unexamined assumptions that have always made the Cartesian Theater model so attractive are exposed and dismantled. The Multiple Drafts model provides a better account of the puzzling phenomena, avoiding the scientific and metaphysical extravagances of the Cartesian Theater.
Keywords consciousness   discrimination   illusion   localization   memory   mental timing   perception   subjective experience
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0140525X00068229
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Lucia Morra (2010). New Models for Language Understanding and the Cognitive Approach to Legal Metaphors. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 23 (4):387-405.
Steven F. Savitt (1994). The Replacement of Time. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (4):463 – 474.
S. J. Todd (2006). Unmasking Multiple Drafts. Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):477-494.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

44 ( #75,887 of 1,725,580 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,437 of 1,725,580 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.