Consciousness, Dennett and Phil Collins


“Now I see Mikhail approaching me, he looks angry, that makes me fearful, I want to run away, I’m going to run away, but he might chase me, so maybe I shouldn’t run, perhaps I’ll ask him if we can chit chat over some coffee.”

Now, I know very little about Dennett,  but really, this seems to be the gist of his take on consciousness.   The conscious self is nothing more than an objectification or reification of the thing /being/entity behind the act of monitoring by the brain of a human’s chosen course through the world.  Or, since I mentioned Mikhail, I’ll translate into Kantian language: a logical construct that supports the unity of thought.  Consciousness then, is not, at least not just some sort of epiphenomenon excreted by warring factions of a disorderly neuro-cognitive system/psyche.  Rather, in this scheme consciousness would be that which unleashes the lavishness of our world.   I can’t help but think of that Phil Collins song: Continue reading

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Morning Read: Consciousness Conundrum


Consciousness Conundrum
Two books try to reclaim the mystery of existence

BY MARK KINGWELL

Human reason has this peculiar fate,” Immanuel Kant wrote in 1781, “that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer.” He was talking about the way reason can speculate about, and yet not know, the ideas that transcend it. For some philosophers, consciousness—what Kant called the self—counts as one of these ideas. We can no more illuminate the nature of our selfhood than, as in a celebrated metaphor sketched by Julian Jaynes, a flashlight can illuminate its own structure. The limit of reflection lies at the margin where reflection is made possible.

Read the rest of this review here.