David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (9-10):123-145 (2001)
In this article I will attempt to refute the claim that the mind is a radically emergent feature of the brain. First, the inter-related concepts of emergence, reducibility and constraint are considered, particularly as these ideas relate to hierarchical biological systems. The implications of radical emergence theories of the mind such as the one posited by Roger Sperry, are explored. I then argue that the failure of Sperry's model is based on the notion that consciousness arises as a radically emergent feature ‘at the top command’ of a non-nested neurological hierarchy. An alternative model, one that avoids the dualism inherent in radical emergence theories, is offered in which the brain is described as producing a nested hierarchy of meaning and purpose that has no ‘top’ or ‘summit’. Finally, I will argue there remains a non-reducible aspect of consciousness that does not depend upon radical emergence theory, but rather on the mutual irreducibility of the subjective and objective points of view. This irreducible aspect of consciousness can be understood as the non-mysterious result of brain evolution and normal neural functioning.
|Keywords||Brain Emergence Metaphysics Mind Science Sperry, R|
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Citations of this work BETA
Todd E. Feinberg & Julian Paul Keenan (2005). Where in the Brain is the Self? Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):671-678.
Georg Northoff, Pengmin Qin & Todd E. Feinberg (2011). Brain Imaging of the SelfâConceptual, Anatomical and Methodological Issues. Consciousness and Cognition 20 (1):52â63.
D. A. Denton, M. J. McKinley, M. Farrell & G. F. Egan (2009). The Role of Primordial Emotions in the Evolutionary Origin of Consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):500-514.
Todd E. Feinberg (2011). The Nested Neural Hierarchy and the Self. Consciousness and Cognition 20 (1):4-15.
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