My central claim is that philosophers of mind have failed to take adequate account of empirical evidence regarding human consciousness and vision. Experiments on split-brain patients over the past fifty years reveal consciousness in both cerebral hemispheres. I claim specifically that (a) consciousness in the right hemisphere is inherited from our animal ancestors; (b) consciousness in the left hemisphere arose during human evolution in association with language; and (c) the existence of both forms of consciousness provides the best explanation for many aspects of normal human experience. Evidence for two cortical visual pathways in the human brain has been expanding for twenty years. The ventral pathway is specialised for object identification, and the dorsal pathway for the control of actions in respect of those objects. The evidence has been challenged by those who have failed (a) to distinguish between the visual pathways themselves and processes served by the pathways, and (b) to recognise the specific circumstances in which actions draw on one pathway. I claim that in the left hemisphere only the ventral pathway reaches consciousness. The combination of two visual pathways with two centres of consciousness challenges traditional views about perception. I claim that (a) perception is distinct from seeing; (b) perception is limited to the left hemisphere; and (c) the parallel process in the right hemisphere is associated with the emotions. The presence of two centres of consciousness challenges traditional views on the unity of consciousness and on personhood; but it also offers an explanation for conflicting views on the emotions and the existence of self-deception. I distinguish my claims about human consciousness from the Dual Systems (or Two Minds) Theory. Although there are superficial parallels, the latter theory denies that both systems/minds are conscious, and takes no account of the specialisation of the cerebral hemispheres revealed by experiments on split-brain patients. I conclude that philosophy must incorporate empirical evidence if it is to avoid claims of irrelevance
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: On the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness.Alain Morin - 2001 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 22 (2):107-118.
Split-Brain Reveals Separate but Equal Self-Recognition in the Two Cerebral Hemispheres.Lucina Q. Uddin, Jan Rayman & Eran Zaidel - 2005 - Consciousness and Cognition 14 (3):633-640.
The Switch Model of Split-Brain Consciousness.Elizabeth Schechter - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):203 - 226.
Against Division: Consciousness, Information and the Visual Streams.Wayne Wu - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (4):383-406.
Egocentric Spatial Representation in Action and Perception.Robert Briscoe - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):423-460.
Now You See It, Now You Don't: Preventing Consciousness with Visual Masking.Mark C. Price - 2001 - In Peter G. Grossenbacher (ed.), Finding Consciousness in the Brain: A Neurocognitive Approach. Advances in Consciousness Research. John Benjamins. pp. 25-60.
Consciousness, Motivation, and Emotion: Biopsychological Reflections.Bill Faw - 2000 - In Ralph D. Ellis & Natika Newton (eds.), The Caldron of Consciousness: Motivation, Affect and Self-Organization- an Anthology. Advances in Consciousness Research. John Benjamins. pp. 55-90.
Attention, Visual Consciousness and Indeterminacy.James Stazicker - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (2):156-184.
Why Red Doesn't Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness.J. K. O'Regan - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Visual Consciousness.Stephen M. Kosslyn - 2001 - In Peter G. Grossenbacher (ed.), Finding Consciousness in the Brain: A Neurocognitive Approach. John Benjamins. pp. 79-103.
Binocular Rivalry and the Cerebral Hemispheres, with a Note on the Correlates and Constitution of Visual Consciousness.S. M. Miller - 2001 - Brain and Mind 2 (1):119-49.
Self-Recognition as a Test of Consciousness in Left and Right Hemisphere of "Split-Brain" Patients.B. Preilowski - 1979 - Activitas Nervosa Superior 19.
Consciousness: A Preparatory and Comparative Process.Phan Luu, John M. Kelley & Daniel Levitin - 2001 - In Peter G. Grossenbacher (ed.), Finding Consciousness in the Brain: A Neurocognitive Approach. Advances in Consciousness Research. John Benjamins. pp. 247-275.
Added to index2011-05-21
Total downloads18 ( #267,916 of 2,158,346 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #355,511 of 2,158,346 )
How can I increase my downloads?