This paper suggests that certain traditional ways of analysing the self start off in situations that are abstract or detached from normal experience, and that the conclusions reached in such approaches are, as a result, inexact or mistaken. The paper raises the question of whether there are more contextualized forms of self- consciousness than those usually appealed to in philosophical or psychological analyses, and whether they can be the basis for a more adequate theoretical approach to the self. First, we (...) develop a distinction between abstract and contextualized actions and intentions by drawing on evidence from studies of rehabilitation after brain damage, and we introduce the notion of intentional attitude. Second, we discuss several interesting conclusions drawn from theoretically and experimentally abstract approaches. These conclusions raise some important issues about both the nature of the self and reflexive consciousness. At the same time they indicate the serious limita- tions concerning what we can claim about self and self-consciousness within such abstract frameworks. Such limitations motivate the question of whether it is possible to capture a sense of self that is more embedded in contextualized actions. Specifically, our concern is to focus on first-person approaches. We identify two forms of self-consciousness, eco- logical self-awareness and embedded reflection, that (1) function within the kinds of contextualized activity we have indicated, and (2) can be the basis for a theoretical account of the self. Both forms of self-consciousness are closely tied to action and promise to provide a less abstract basis for developing a theoretical approach to the self. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This collection was inspired by the observation that film remakes offer us the opportunity to revisit important issues, stories, themes, and topics in a manner that is especially relevant and meaningful to contemporary audiences. Like mythic stories that are told again and again in differing ways, film remakes present us with updated perspectives on timeless ideas. While some remakes succeed and others fail aesthetically, they always say something about the culture in which_and for which_they are produced. Contributors explore the ways (...) in which the fears of death, loss of self, and bodily violence have been expressed and then reinterpreted in such films and remakes as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead. Films such as Rollerball, The Ring, The Grudge, The Great Yokai Wars, and Insomnia are discussed as well because of their ability to give voice to collective anxieties concerning cultural change, nihilism, and globalization. While opening on a note that emphasizes the compulsion of filmmakers to revisit issues concerning fear and anxiety, this collection ends by using films like Solaris, King Kong, Star Trek, Doom, and Van Helsing to suggest that repeated confrontation with these issues allows the opportunity for creative and positive transformation. (shrink)
This article reviews the effects of malnutrition on early brain development using data generated from animal experiments and human clinical studies. Three related processes, each with their own functional consequences, are implicated in the alteration of brain development. (1) Maternal undernutrition at the start of pregnancy results in reduced transfer of nutrients across the placenta, allowing the conservation of effort for future reproductive episodes. (2) Differential allocation to growing organs by the fetus in response to nutritional stress spares the brain (...) to a large though still limited degree, reflecting the organ’s relative contribution to survival and reproductive success. (3) Prenatal malnutrition disrupts developing neurotransmitter systems, which results in the expression of specific cognitive and affective traits. It is argued that the increasing size and therefore cost of the brain, in conjunction with increasing ecological instability and marginality, reinforced selection for maternally controlled growth suppression of offspring, reallocation of organ growth rates by offspring, and behavioral changes related to development of neurotransmitter systems. (shrink)
The significance of consciousness in modern science is discussed by leading authorities from a variety of disciplines. Presenting a wide-ranging survey of current thinking on this important topic, the contributors address such issues as the status of different aspects of consciousness; the criteria for using the concept of consciousness and identifying instances of it; the basis of consciousness in functional brain organization; the relationship between different levels of theoretical discourse; and the functions of consciousness.