The Conscious Brain
Synthesizing decades of research, The Conscious Brain advances a theory of the psychological and neurophysiological correlates of conscious experience. In the first part of the book, Prinz argues that consciousness always arises at a particular stage of perceptual processing, the intermediate level, and that consciousness depends on attention. Attention changes the flow of information and that gives rise to experience. The resulting account is called the AIR Theory, for attended intermediate-level representations. Objections to the theory are addressed. In the second part of the book, Prinz argues that all consciousness is perceptual: there is no cognitive phenomenology, no experience of motor commands, and no experience of a conscious self. This conclusions challenge popular theories in consciousness studies: the view that we can directly experience our thoughts, the view that consciousness essentially involves action, and the view that every experience includes awareness of the subject having that experience. In the third part of the book, Prinz explores the neural correlates of consciousness. He argues attention-hence consciousness-arises when populations of neurons fire in synchrony, and he responds to those who deny that consciousness could be a process in the brain. Along the way, Prinz also advances novel theories of qualia, the function of consciousness, the unity of consciousness, and the mind-body relation, defending a view called neurofunctionism. Each chapter in The Conscious Brain brings neuroscientific evidence to bear on enduring philosophical questions. Major philosophical and scientific theories of consciousness are surveyed, challenged, and extended.
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action activity agnosia AIR theory argue attention become conscious blindsight bodily body brain causal cells change blindness chapter claim concepts conscious experience consciousness arises cortex dorsal stream dualism emotions empirical enactivism ence encoding evidence example experienced explain fact feel function global workspace global workspace theory hierarchy high-level identity imagery images inattentional blindness inputs intermediate level intermediate-level hypothesis intermediate-level representations introspection involves knowledge argument located Lycan Mary masked mechanisms memory mental modulated motor responses multiple realizability neural correlates neurons neuroscience object pattern perceived perception phenomenal knowledge phenomenal qualities phenomenology physical population coding processes properties psychological psychophysical identity qualia qualitative character reason represent representationalism rience role sciousness seems sense sensory spatial stimulus studies subjects suggests synchrony temporal theory of consciousness things thoughts tion unconscious unified unity ventral stream vision visual areas visual experience visual system working-memory