The disunity of consciousness

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (3):378-95 (1998)
Abstract
It is commonplace for both philosophers and cognitive scientists to express their allegiance to the "unity of consciousness". This is the claim that a subject’s phenomenal consciousness, at any one moment in time, is a single thing. This view has had a major influence on computational theories of consciousness. In particular, what we call single-track theories dominate the literature, theories which contend that our conscious experience is the result of a single consciousness-making process or mechanism in the brain. We argue that the orthodox view is quite wrong: phenomenal experience is not a unity, in the sense of being a single thing at each instant. It is a multiplicity, an aggregate of phenomenal elements, each of which is the product of a distinct consciousness-making mechanism in the brain. Consequently, cognitive science is in need of a multi-track theory of consciousness; a computational model that acknowledges both the manifold nature of experience, and its distributed neural basis
Keywords Body  Consciousness  Metaphysics  Unity
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Citations of this work BETA
Elizabeth Schechter (2013). Two Unities of Consciousness. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):197-218.
Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2000). Disunity Defended: A Reply to Bayne. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):255-263.
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