Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):549-571 (2003)
To have an ontology is to interpret a world. In this paper we argue that the brain, viewed as a representational system aimed at interpreting our world, possesses an ontology too. It creates primitives and makes existence assumptions. It decomposes target space in a way that exhibits a certain invariance, which in turn is functionally significant. We will investigate which are the functional regularities guiding this decomposition process, by answering to the following questions: What are the explicit and implicit assumptions about the structure of reality, which at the same time shape the causal profile of the brain's motor output and its representational deep structure, in particular of the conscious mind arising from it (its ''phenomenal output'')? How do they constrain high-level phenomena like conscious experience, the emergence of a first-person perspective, or social cognition? By reviewing a series of neuroscientific results and integrating them with a wider philosophical perspective, we will emphasize the contribution the motor system makes to this process. As it will be shown, the motor system constructs goals, actions, and intending selves as basic constituents of the world it interprets. It does so by assigning a single, unified causal role to them. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the brain models movements and action goals in terms of multimodal representations of organism-object-relations. Under a representationalist analysis, this process can be conceived of as an internal, dynamic representation of the intentionality-relation itself. We will show how such a complex form of representational content, once it is in place, can later function as a functional building block for social cognition and for a more complex, consciously experienced representation of the first-person perspective as well
|Keywords||Brain Cognition Consciousness Decomposition Function Ontology|
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References found in this work BETA
Mirror Neurons and the Simulation Theory of Mind-Reading.Vittorio Gallese & Alvin Goldman - 1998 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2 (12):493-501.
Intentional Systems in Cognitive Ethology: The 'Panglossian Paradigm' Defended.Daniel C. Dennett - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (3):343-90.
Citations of this work BETA
Embodied Simulation: From Neurons to Phenomenal Experience. [REVIEW]Vittorio Gallese - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (1):23-48.
Full-Body Illusions and Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.Thomas Metzinger & Olaf Blanke - 2009 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13 (1):7-13.
The Motor Theory of Social Cognition: A Critique.Pierre Jacob & Marc Jeannerod - 2005 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):21-25.
Mining the Brain for a New Taxonomy of the Mind.Michael L. Anderson - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):68-77.
Brain Imaging of the SelfâConceptual, Anatomical and Methodological Issues.Georg Northoff, Pengmin Qin & Todd E. Feinberg - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (1):52â63.
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