Menschen verfügen über ein komplexes Vermögen der Selbstlokalisierung in Raum und Zeit. Seine eigene Position festzustellen kann in verschiedenen Kontexten Verschiedenes bedeuten. Nicht jedes unsere raumzeitliche Lokalisierung und Orientierung betreffende Problem ist philosophischer Natur. Fragen wie »Wo ist Norden?«, »Wie weit ist es nach Hause?« oder »In welcher Richtung liegt das Ziel?« sind lebensweltliche und gegebenenfalls navigatorische Fragen. Die kognitiven Mechanismen und Fähigkeiten zu untersuchen, die unseren Lokalisierungs- und Orientierungsleistungen zugrunde liegen, ist eine Aufgabe für die Kognitionswissenschaften. Die Untersuchung der (...) Grundlagen unserer Orientierungsfähigkeit wirft aber auch begriffliche Fragen auf, und diese zu klären ist eine philosophische Aufgabe. Wichtige Beiträge dazu haben Kant, Husserl, Strawson, Tugendhat und Gareth Evans geleistet. Truls Wyller steht in dieser Reihe und hat wie kein anderer den transzendentalphilosophischen Gehalt von Lokalisierungs- und Orientierungsfragen herausgearbeitet. Gegen naturalistische Verkürzungen hat er mit großer Beharrlichkeit dafür argumentiert, dass das Vermögen, seine eigene Position in Raum und Zeit zu bestimmen, Implika-tionen hat, die die Bedingung der Möglichkeit von Erfahrung betreffen. Die folgende Skizze ist ungleich bescheidener angelegt. Ich werde wenig mehr tun, als wesentliche Einsichten der Literatur zur raumzeitlichen Selbstlokalisierung zusammenzutragen, wobei ich einige Akzente anders setze als Wyller. Insbesondere werde ich versuchen, so weit wie möglich ohne Transzendentalen Idealismus auskommen. Im Zentrum meiner Skizze steht das klärungsbedürftige Verhältnis zwischen indexikalischen und nicht-indexikalischen Orts- und Zeitbestimmungen sowie den zugehörigen Lokalisierungsverfahren. (shrink)
I propose and defend the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface Theory of Con- sciousness. Mental processes form a hierarchy of mental representations with maxi- mally egocentric (self-centered) representations at the bottom and maximally allocentric (other-centered) representations at the top. Phenomenally conscious states are states that are relatively intermediate in this hierarchy. More speci.
b>: The problem of how physical systems, such as brains, come to represent themselves as subjects in an objective world is addressed. I develop an account of the requirements for this ability that draws on and refines work in a philosophical tradition that runs from Kant through Peter Strawson to Gareth Evans. The basic idea is that the ability to represent oneself as a subject in a world whose existence is independent of oneself involves the ability to represent space, and (...) in particular, to represent oneself as one object among others in an objective spatial realm. In parallel, I provide an account of how this ability, and the mechanisms that support it, are realized neurobiologically. This aspect of the article draws on, and refines, work done in the neurobiology and psychology of egocentric and allocentric spatial representation. (shrink)
Research in cognitive neuroscience and spatial presence suggests that human mental self-localization is tied to one place at a given point in time. In this study, we examined whether it is possible to feel localized at two distinct places at the same time. Participants were exposed to a virtual rollercoaster and they continuously judged to what extent they felt present in the immediate environment and in the mediated environment, respectively. The results show that participants distributed their self-localization to (...) both environments, and the two values added up to closely 100% over time. In addition, even though the judgments are highly idiosyncratic, they were almost perfectly inversely related. This indicates that individuals can distribute their self over two distinct places. These findings provide important insights about understanding of the human self-localization. (shrink)
Jeffery et al. characterize the egocentric/allocentric distinction as discrete. But paradoxically, much of the neural and behavioral evidence they adduce undermines a discrete distinction. More strikingly, their positive proposal reflects a more complex interplay between egocentric and allocentric coding than they acknowledge. Properly interpreted, their proposal about three-dimensional spatial representation contributes to recent work on embodied cognition.
This study examined how different components of working memory are involved in the acquisition of egocentric and allocentric survey knowledge by people with a good and poor sense of direction (SOD). We employed a dual-task method and asked participants to learn routes from videos with verbal, visual, and spatial interference tasks and without any interference. Results showed that people with a good SOD encoded and integrated knowledge about landmarks and routes into egocentric survey knowledge in verbal and (...) spatial working memory, which is then transformed into allocentric survey knowledge with the support of all three components, distances being processed in verbal and spatial working memory and directions in visual and spatial working memory. In contrast, people with a poor SOD relied on verbal working memory and lacked spatial processing, thus failing to acquire accurate survey knowledge. Based on the results, a possible model for explaining individual differences in spatial knowledge acquisition is proposed. (shrink)
David Lewis’s property-centered account of belief falls prey to the problem of egocentric omniscience: In self-ascribing the property of being an eye doctor, an agent is thereby self-ascribing the property of being an oculist. It is argued that the problem of egocentric omniscience can be made palatable for Lewis’s property-centered account of belief, at least for the case of linguistic beliefs. Roughly, my solution is as follows: An agent can believe that he or she has the property of (...) being an eye doctor/oculist under the description ‘eye doctor’ without believing that he or she has this property under the description ‘oculist’. Believing that one has a property P under a description D involves the additional self-ascription of the propositional property of inhabiting a world with respect to which that description denotes the property P. This is not the same sort of solution as the one proposed for singular beliefs by Nathan Salmon. Unlike Salmon’s account, belief on the account I am defending is regarded as a two place-relation rather than a three-place relation. Since, on Lewis’s account, self-ascriptive belief subsumes de dicto belief, my solution also sheds light on the problem of logical omniscience. (shrink)
The dominant view of the ventral and dorsal visual systems is that they subserve perception and action. De Wit, Van der Kamp, and Masters suggested that a more fundamental distinction might exist between the nature of information exploited by the systems. The present study distinguished between these accounts by asking participants to perform delayed matching , pointing and perceptual judgment responses to masked Müller–Lyer stimuli of varying length. Matching and pointing responses of participants who could not perceptually judge stimulus length (...) at brief durations remained sensitive to veridical stimulus length , but not the illusion , which was effective at long durations. Distinct thresholds for egocentric and allocentric information pick up were thus evident irrespective of whether perception or action responses were required. It was concluded that the dorsal and ventral systems may be delineated fundamentally by fast egocentric- and slower allocentric information pick up, respectively. (shrink)
Many philosophical issues concern questions of objectivity and subjectivity. Of these questions, there are two kinds. The first considers whether something is objective or subjective; the second what it _means_ for something to be objective or subjective.
The indexical sentence “I am here now” can be used any time and anywhere by anyone to say something true. Rather than yielding a special kind of infallible knowledge, this fact indicates that every speaker or thinker has a zero of an egocentric coordinate system at his disposal. Many idealist philosophers assume that this egocentric zero can be further reduced. The ability to make a de se-reference with the first person pronoun, they claim, need not involve spatiotemporal (...) class='Hi'>self-localization. The paper challenges this idealistic view. Starting from the observation that even Descartes’ cogito argument, which expresses a tensed truth, involves a dated mental episode, it is argued that nothing can exist in time without being in space. The paper concludes that the egocentric zero of orientation with its three mutually dependent elements (I, here, now) cannot be further minimized. Thinkers of I-thoughts must have a spatiotemporal position. They must be Strawsonian persons rather than Cartesian egos. (shrink)
Ferdinand Pöhlmann argues that a sense of one’s own basic abilities to move is a constitutive condition on the ability to perceive the world spatially. This constitutive relation explains why egocentric spatial representation is to be regarded as a kind of self-representation. In arguing for these claims, conceptual as well as empirical questions are discussed and an overview of accounts that take action as a constitutive condition on spatial representation is given. The picture that emerges is linked to the (...) phenomenological (Scheler) as well as to the analytic (Evans) tradition in the Philosophy of Mind.. (shrink)
One's contemporaneous conscious mental states seem bound in a single, unified experience. Dainton argues, against what he calls the S-Thesis, that we cannot explain such co-consciousness in terms of states' being located in a single phenomenal space, a functional space posited to explain our ability to locate ourselves relative to perceived stimuli. But Dainton's argument rests on a conflation of egocentric and allocentric self-localizing, and thus fails to undermine the S-Thesis. Nevertheless, experiments on visual neglect suggest one can (...) have unconscious mental states that are located in the same phenomenal field, so the S-Thesis fails after all. I examine a modified version of the S-Thesis according to which mental states are co-conscious when one is aware of them via a higher-order sensation that represents them as located in the same phenomenal field. But among other problems, this view fails to explain the co-consciousness of intentional states, which aren't located in phenomenal fields. Finally, I argue that a higher-order-thought model of consciousness best explains the apparent unity of experience in terms of one's tacit assumption that all the first-person thoughts in virtue of which one is conscious of one's mental states refer to the same individual. (shrink)
Commentary on: Olaf Blanke, Thomas Metzinger, Full-body illusions and minimal phenomenal selfhood, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 7-13, ISSN 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.10.003.
In this paper, we attempt to make a distinction between egocentrism and allocentrism in social cognition, based on the distinction that is made in visuo-spatial perception. We propose that it makes a difference to mentalizing whether the other person can be understood using an egocentric (‘‘you'') or an allocentric (‘‘he/ she/they'') stance. Within an egocentric stance, the other person is represented in relation to the self. By contrast, within an allocentric stance, the existence or mental state (...) of the other person needs to be represented as independent from the self. We suggest here that people with Asperger syndrome suffer from a disconnection between a strong naı¨ve egocentric stance and a highly abstract allocentric stance. We argue that the currently used distinction between first-person and third-person perspective-taking is orthogonal to the distinction between an egocentric and an allocentric stance and therefore cannot serve as a critical test of allocentrism. (shrink)
According to proponents of the sensorimotor contingency theory of perception (Hurley & Noë 2003, Noë 2004, O’Regan 2011), active control of camera movement is necessary for the emergence of distal attribution in tactile-visual sensory substitution (TVSS) because it enables the subject to acquire knowledge of the way stimulation in the substituting modality varies as a function of self-initiated, bodily action. This chapter, by contrast, approaches distal attribution as a solution to a causal inference problem faced by the subject’s perceptual systems. (...) Given all of the available endogenous and exogenous evidence available to those systems, what is the most probable source of stimulation in the substituting modality? From this perspective, active control over the camera’s movements matters for rather different reasons. Most importantly, it generates proprioceptive and efference-copy based information about the camera’s body-relative position necessary to make use of the spatial cues present in the stimulation that the subject receives for purposes of egocentric object localization. (shrink)
Increasingly open to question are the efficacies and timing of some traditional, conventional and current meditative techniques. Recent brain research emphasizes that it is important to distinguish between the Self-centred (egocentric) and other-centred (allocentric) streams of processing. It also proves useful to view as complementary the assets of the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation, especially when one's practices cultivate an appropriate balance between their top-down and bottom-up systems of attentive processing. From this neural perspective, Part I ventures (...) a small sample of empirical suggestions. Some of these could help practitioners engage in more open, effortless, choiceless, varieties of receptive meditation?indoors and outdoors. Part II discusses recent research that illuminates issues arising at the interface between Self and other. The evidence suggests how a balanced attentiveness might enable long-term meditators to enhance mindfulness of the present moment, while simultaneously becoming much less fearful and, ultimately, freer to openly express their most objective, innate instincts of selfless compassion. The art of Progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. (Alfred North Whitehead 1861?1947). (shrink)
Localizing the self in the brain has been the goal of consciousness research for centuries. Recently, there has been an increase in attention to the localization of the self. Here we present data from patients suffering from a loss of self in an attempt to understand the neural correlates of consciousness. Focusing on delusional misidentification syndrome , we find that frontal regions, as well as the right hemisphere appear to play a significant role in DMS and DMS related disorders. These (...) data are placed in the context of neuroimaging findings. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the concept of a self-aware agent. In cognitive science agents are seen as embodied and interactively situated in worlds. We analyse the meanings attached to these terms in cognitive science and robotics, proposing a set of conditions for situatedness and embodiment, and examine the claim that internal representational schemas are largely unnecessary for intelligent behaviour in animats. We maintain that current situated and embodied animats cannot be ascribed even minimal self-awareness, and offer a six point (...) definition of embeddedness, constituting minimal conditions for the evolution of a sense of self. This leads to further analysis of the nature of embodiment and situatedness, and a consideration of whether virtual animats in virtual worlds could count as situated and embodied. We propose that self-aware agents must possess complex structures of self-directed goals; multi-modal sensory systems and a rich repertoire of interactions with their worlds. Finally, we argue that embedded agents will possess or evolve local co-ordinate systems, or points of view, relative to their current positions in space and time, and have a capacity to develop an egocentric space. None of these capabilities are possible without powerful internal representational capacities. (shrink)
We need to clarify at least four aspects of selfhood if we are to reach a better understanding of consciousness in general, and of its alternate states. First, how did we develop our self-centred psychophysiology? Second, can the four familiar lobes of the brain alone serve, if only as preliminary landmarks of convenience, to help understand the functions of our many self-referent networks? Third, what could cause one's former sense of self to vanish from the mental field during an extraordinary (...) state of consciousness? Fourth, when a person's physical and psychic self do drop off briefly, how has conscious experience then been transformed? In particular, what happens to that subject's personal sense of time? Our many-sided self arose in widely distributed brain networks. Since infancy, these self-oriented circuits have been over-conditioned by limbic biases. Selfhood then seems to have evolved along lines suggesting at least in shorthand the operations of a kind of ‘I-Me-Mine’ complex. But what happens when this egocentric triad briefly dissolves? Novel states of consciousness emerge. Two personally-observed states are discussed: insight-wisdom ; internal absorption. How do these two states differ phenomenologically? The physiological processes briefly suggested here emphasize shifts in deeper systems, and pivotal roles for thalamo-cortical interactions in the front and back of the brain. (shrink)
How should we think about the role of visual spatial awareness in perception and perceptual knowledge? A common view, which finds a characteristic expression in Kant but has an intellectual heritage reaching back farther than that, is that an account of spatial awareness is fundamental to a theory of experience because spatiality is the defining characteristic of “outer sense”, of our perceptual awareness of how things are in the parts of the world that surround us. A natural counterpart to this (...) idea is to treat self-consciousness as residing in a kind of sense that is fundamentally “inner”, such as introspection or whatever else gives one privileged access to his own mental states as well as the proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness of bodily position. This division is compatible, of course, with the idea that inner sense provides an awareness of a distinctive kind of “body space”, but it treats that as importantly different from the awareness of the worldly space around one. -/- In contrast to such a picture, this dissertation proposes an account of visual spatial awareness according to which it is no less a source of self-consciousness than of the awareness of the objects around us, and an account of self-awareness in which visual experience is essentially implicated. I begin by arguing that we should think of visual spatial awareness not as necessary for the individuation of visual sensations but rather as an essential element in the awareness of an experientially objective world. In the subsequent chapters, I argue that in being visually aware of the egocentric positions of the worldly objects around us we are often aware also of our own spatial locations with respect to them, and that the visual experience of the world around one and one’s own situation in it is often an essential component in the knowledge that a human agent will have of his own intentional actions. (shrink)
Visual, somatosensory, and perspectival cues normally provide congruent information about where the self is experienced. Separating those cues by virtual reality techniques, recent studies found that self-location was systematically biased to where a visual–tactile event was seen. Here we developed a novel, repeatable and implicit measure of self-location to compare and extend previous protocols. We investigated illusory self-location and associated phenomenological aspects in a lying body position that facilitates clinically observed abnormal self-location . The results confirm that the self is (...) located to where touch is seen. This leads to either predictable lowering or elevation of self-localization, and the latter was accompanied by sensations of floating, as during out-of-body experiences. Using a novel measurement we show that the unitary and localized character of the self can be experimentally separated from both the origin of the visual perspective and the location of the seen body, which is compatible with clinical data. (shrink)
What is the self? The question has preoccupied people in many times and places, but nowhere more than in the modern West, where it has spawned debates that still resound today. In this 2005 book, Jerrold Seigel provides an original and penetrating narrative of how major Western European thinkers and writers have confronted the self since the time of Descartes, Leibniz, and Locke. From an approach that is at once theoretical and contextual, he examines the way figures in Britain, France, (...) and Germany have understood whether and how far individuals can achieve coherence and consistency in the face of the inner tensions and external pressures that threaten to divide or overwhelm them. He makes clear that recent 'postmodernist' accounts of the self belong firmly to the tradition of Western thinking they have sought to supersede, and provides an open-ended and persuasive alternative to claims that the modern self is typically egocentric or disengaged. (shrink)
Over a decade ago, I introduced a large-scale theory of the cognitive brain which explained for the first time how the human brain is able to create internal models of its intimate world and invent models of a wider universe. An essential part of the theoretical model is an organization of neuronal mechanisms which I have named the Retinoid Model (Trehub, 1977, 1991). This hypothesized brain system has structural and dynamic properties enabling it to register and appropriately integrate disparate foveal (...) stimuli into a perspectival, egocentric representation of an extended 3D world scene including a neuronally-tokened locus of the self which, in this theory, is the neuronal origin of retinoid space. As an integral part of the larger neuro-cognitive model, the retinoid system is able to perform many other useful perceptual and higher cognitive functions. In this paper, I draw on the hypothesized properties of this system to argue that neuronal activity within the retinoid structure constitutes the phenomenal content of consciousness and the unique sense of self that each of us experiences. -/- Trehub, A. (1977). Neuronal models for cognitive processes: Networks for learning, perception, and imagination. _Journal of Theoretical Biology_ 65: 141-169. -/- Trehub, A. (1991). _The Cognitive Brain_. MIT Press. -/- . (shrink)
: The purpose of this paper and its sister paper (Farrell and Hooker, b) is to present, evaluate and elaborate a proposed new model for the process of scientific development: self-directed anticipative learning (SDAL). The vehicle for its evaluation is a new analysis of a well-known historical episode: the development of ape-language research. In this first paper we outline five prominent features of SDAL that will need to be realized in applying SDAL to science: 1) interactive exploration of possibility space; (...) 2) self-directedness; 3) localization of success and error; 4) Synergistic increase in learning capacity; and 5) continuity of SDAL process across scientific change. In this paper we examine the first three features of SDAL in relation to the early history of ape-language research. We show that this history is readily explicated as a self-directed, ever-finer, delineation of possibility space that enables the localization of both success and error. Paper II examines the last two features against this history. (shrink)
Increasingly encompassing models have been suggested for our world. Theories range from generally accepted to increasingly speculative to apparently bogus. The progression of theories from ego- to geo- to helio-centric models to universe and multiverse theories and beyond was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the sizes of the postulated worlds, with humans being expelled from their center to ever more remote and random locations. Rather than leading to a true theory of everything, this trend faces a turning point after (...) which the predictive power of such theories decreases (actually to zero). Incorporating the location and other capacities of the observer into such theories avoids this problem and allows to distinguish meaningful from predictively meaningless theories. This also leads to a truly complete theory of everything consisting of a (conventional objective) theory of everything plus a (novel subjective) observer process. The observer localization is neither based on the controversial anthropic principle, nor has it anything to do with the quantum-mechanical observation process. The suggested principle is extended to more practical (partial, approximate, probabilistic, parametric) world models (rather than theories of everything). Finally, I provide a justification of Ockham's razor, and criticize the anthropic principle, the doomsday argument, the no free lunch theorem, and the falsifiability dogma.", . (shrink)
There is a need for inner recollection opposed to our everyday distraction. Our distraction is partly based on anthropological features and partly on social and cultural features. As well as feelings of distraction, we know experiences of being focussed from everyday life. As feelings in which distraction is absent, and as feelings in which we are partly and temporarily released from our own egocentric perspective, they remind us that a different kind of relation to ourselves and the world is (...) possible. Therefore, they can motivate a process of self-transformation aiming at a mystical state of mind, which is of a more profound and enduring kind than ordinary experiences of being focussed. The mystical state of mind is a state in which we transcend ourselves in the face of the universe and thereby relativize our own affective involvement. It is a feeling of an all-encompassing unity which ultimately concerns us; and it is a feeling of love, joy, and peace of mind. Mystical feelings thus shape and restrict spaces of possibilities, and they comprise an altered sense of what it means to be real. Therefore, they can be classified as existential feelings. Still, the mystical state of mind differs from prototypical existential feelings because it is a positive feeling, necessarily comprises active as well as passive moments, and presupposes an explicit way of attending to the world as world. (shrink)
The cortical visual mechanisms involved in processing spatial relationships remain subject to debate. According to one current view, the ''dorsal stream'' of visual areas, emanating from primary visual cortex and culminating in the posterior parietal cortex, mediates this aspect of visual processing. More recently, others have argued that while the dorsal stream provides egocentric coding of visual location for motor control, the separate ''ventral'' stream is needed for allocentric spatial coding. We have assessed the visual form agnosic patient (...) DF, whose lesion mainly affects the ventral stream, on a prehension task requiring allocentric spatial coding. She was presented with transparent circular disks. Each disk had circular holes cut in it. DF was asked to reach out and grasp the disk by placing her fingers through the holes. The disks either had three holes (for forefinger, middle finger, and thumb) or two holes (for forefinger and thumb). The distance between the forefinger and thumb holes, and the orientation of the line formed by them, were independently varied. DF was quite unable to adjust her grip aperture or her hand orientation in the three-hole task. Although she was able to orient her hand appropriately for the two-hole disks, she still remained unable to adjust her grip aperture to the distance between the holes. These findings are consistent with the idea that allocentric processing of spatial information requires a functioning ventral stream, even when the information is being used to guide a motor response. (shrink)
Activation of the brainʼs putative retinoid system has been proposed as the neuronal substrate for our basic sense of being centered within a volumetric surround –- our minimal phenomenal consciousness (Trehub 2007). Here, the assumed properties of the self-locus within the retinoid model are shown to explain recent experimental findings relating to the out-of-body-experience. In addition, selective excursion of the heuristic self-locus is able to explain many important functions of consciousness, including the effective internal representation of a 3D space on (...) the basis of 2D perspective depictions. Our sense of self-agency is shown to be a natural product of the role of the heuristic self-locus in the retinoid mechanism. (shrink)
Deafferented subjects, while lacking proprioceptive awareness of much of their bodies, are nevertheless able to use their bodies in basic action. Sustained visual contact with the body parts of which they are no longer proprioceptively aware enables them to move these parts in a controlled way. This might be taken to straightforwardly show that proprioceptive awareness is inessential to bodily action. I, however, argue that this is not the case. Proprioceptive awareness figures essentially in our self-conscious unity as practical subjects. (...) Recognizing this allows us to better understand the nature of the impairment with which deafferented subjects live. (shrink)
This paper samples the large body of neuroscientific evidence suggesting that each mental function takes place within specific neural structures. For instance, vision appears to occur in the visual cortex, motor control in the motor cortex, spatial memory in the hippocampus, and cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex. Evidence comes from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, brain stimulation, neuroimaging, lesion studies, and behavioral genetics. If mental functions take place within neural structures, mental functions cannot survive brain death. Therefore, there is no mental (...) life after brain death. -/- 1. The Neural Localization of Mental Functions - 1.1 Perception and Motor Control - 1.2 Memory - 1.3 Emotion - 1.4 Language - 1.5 Thinking - 1.6 Attention and Consciousness - 1.7 Spirituality -- 2. Objections - 2.1 Linguistic Dualism - 2.2 Mere Correlation - 2.3 Neural Plasticity - 2.4 Intentionality - 2.5 Phenomenal Consciousness - 2.6 Subjectivity - 2.7 Self-Knowledge - 2.8 Free Will - 2.9 Are We Just Indulging in Physicalistic Wishful Thinking? -- 3. Conclusion -- Appendix: Physicalism and the Afterlife. (shrink)