Proprioception, Anosognosia, and the Richness of Conscious Experience

Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4):3-4 (2013)
Authors
Alexis Elder
University of Minnesota, Duluth
Abstract
Proprioception, a sense of bodily position and movement, is rarely the focus of conscious experience. If we are ordinarily conscious of proprioception, we seem only peripherally so. Thus, evidence that proprioception is present in the periphery of at least some conscious experiences seems to be good evidence that conscious experience is fairly rich. Anosognosia for paralysis is a denial of paralysis of one's limbs, usually in the wake of brain damage from stroke. Because anosognosic patients overlook their paralysis, anosognosia seems be a counter-example to the claim that proprioception exists in the periphery of conscious experience. However, careful consideration of the data shows that anosognosia makes a poor counterexample to a rich theory of consciousness. Thus, we retain reason to believe that proprioception exists in the periphery of conscious experience, and so to conclude that conscious experience is relatively rich
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