The feeling of embodiment: A case study in explaining consciousness

Palgrave MacMillian (2019)

Authors
Glenn Carruthers
Charles Sturt University
Abstract
This book proposes a novel and rigorous explanation of consciousness. It argues that the study of an aspect of our self-consciousness known as the ‘feeling of embodiment’ teaches us that there are two distinct phenomena to be targeted by an explanation of consciousness. First is an explanation of the phenomenal qualities – 'what it is like' – of the experience; and second is the subject's awareness of those qualities. Glenn Carruthers explores the phenomenal qualities of the feeling of embodiment using the tools of quality spaces, as well as the subject's awareness of those qualities as a functionally emergent property of various kinds of processing of these spaces. Where much recent work on consciousness focuses on visual experience, this book rather draws evidence from the study of self-consciousness. Carruthers argues that in light of recent methodological discoveries, awareness must be explained in terms of the organization of multiple cognitive processes. The book offers an explanation of anomalous body representations and, from that, poses a more general theory of consciousness. Ultimately this book creates a hybrid account of consciousness that explains phenomenology and awareness using different tools. It will be of great interest to all scholars of psychology and philosophy as well as anyone interested in exploring the intricacies of how we experience our bodies, what we are and how we fit into the world.
Keywords consciousness  self-consciousness  phenomenology  awareness  sense of embodiment  Rubber Hand Illusion  Somatoparaphrenia  Anosognosia for hemiplegia  quality space  conceptual space
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ISBN(s) 3030141667   978-3-030-14167-7   978-3-030-14166-0
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Chapters BETA
Conclusion

Carruthers offers a summary of the hybrid account of consciousness and what it explains.

Completing the Hybrid Account: Awareness Is a Functionally Emergent Kind

Carruthers considers a challenge to hybrid accounts of consciousness from recent arguments offered by Irvine to the effect that this concept of AWARENESS is not a scientifically respectable kind. From the fact that different measures of consciousness can provide contradictory answers to questions of... see more

Implications of the Real Problem of Consciousness for the Sense of Embodiment: We Need a Hybrid Account of ‘Consciousness’

Carruthers returns to methodological problems of measuring the feeling of embodiment and examines the implications these problems have for the explanation offered in the previous chapters. Carruthers considers the possibility of confabulated reports of experience, or, people reporting experiences th... see more

…And Then What Happens?

In Chapter 4 Carruthers offers a well-motivated hypothesis to explain the phenomenology of the feeling of embodiment that has received some independent and direct empirical support. But, is this an account of our consciousness of this feeling or just how the content is represented? In this chapter C... see more

Explaining the Feeling of Embodiment: The Feeling of Embodiment Occurs When an On-Line Body Representation Is Matched to an Off-Line Prototype

Carruthers offers an explanation of the phenomenology of the feeling of embodiment. He argues that the sense of embodiment arises when an on-line representation of the body is represented as matching an off-line prototype representation of what one’s body is usually like. A distinguishing feature of... see more

Off-Line and On-Line Body Representations

Carruthers introduces some of the tools needed for the explanation of the feeling of embodiment. From the experiences and abilities of patients suffering anosognosia for hemiplegia we find at least two separate ways of representing the body, called on-line and off-line body representations. Sufferer... see more

The Feeling of Embodiment: Our Target of Explanation

Carruthers offers a description of the feeling of embodiment, or the experience of oneself as one’s body, as me. This discussion is driven by experimental and pathological alterations to the feeling of embodiment as seen in the rubber hand illusion , the delusion of somatoparaphrenia and body integr... see more

The Real Problem of Consciousness

Carruthers offers a new description of the problem of consciousness. Whilst the Real Problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining consciousness, it also includes worries about measuring consciousness. How do we know when we have measured consciousness? This problem is distinguished from tra... see more

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