Phenomenal Consciousness and the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface

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Phenomenal Consciousness and the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface

  1. 1. Phenomenal Consciousness and the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface Pete Mandik Associate Professor Coordinator, Cognitive Science Laboratory Chairman, Department of Philosophy William Paterson University, New Jersey USA
  2. 2. Three Problems of Consciousness <ul><li>What is state consciousness? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(What makes a mental state conscious and not unconscious?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is transitive consciousness? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(What are we conscious of ?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is phenomenal character? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(What are qualia? What is “what it is like” ?) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Allocentric-Egocentric Interface Theory of Consciousness <ul><li>Consciousness consists in the interface between allocentric and egocentric coding schemes for perceptible features </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious states are hybrids of allocentric and egocentric representations and phenomenal character is determined by their contents </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is the egocentric allocentric distinction? ALLOCENTRIC EGOCENTRIC Self-specifying contents Non-self-specifying contents Online (sensorimotor) Offline (memory and planning) Analog, isomorphism Conceptual, categorical Info. encapsulation Inferential promiscuity
  5. 5. Levels of visual processing
  6. 6. What is the progression of levels? <ul><li>Egocentric-to-Allocentric transformations </li></ul>Low-level (LGN and V1) Egocentric reps Intermediate-level (IT and PP) Egocentric/Allocentric Hybrid reps Highlevel (Frontal Cortex and Hippocampus) Allocentric reps
  7. 7. So, where is consciousness? <ul><li>Not at either end of the Egocentric-Allocentric continuum </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Pure Allocentric </li></ul>Pure Egocentric Retinocentric Body-centered Limited viewpoint invariance Amodal Category knowledge The Allocentric-Egocentric Interface The reciprocally influencing representations jointly comprise a conscious state
  9. 9. Consciousness is not purely egocentric <ul><li>Patient DF’s visual form agnosia (Milner and Goodale 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>Bilateral ventral stream damage to area LO </li></ul>
  10. 10. Consciousness is not purely egocentric <ul><li>Patient DF’s visual form agnosia </li></ul><ul><li>Perceptual consciousness of form and orientation destroyed, but sensorimotor skill intact </li></ul>
  11. 11. Consciousness is not purely egocentric <ul><li>Visual consciousness is conceptually informed </li></ul><ul><li>Theory ladeness of perception </li></ul><ul><li>Dog </li></ul><ul><li>Dog sniffing ground </li></ul><ul><li>Dog’s butt facing you </li></ul><ul><li>Did I mention the dog? </li></ul>What is this a picture of? Hints:
  12. 12. Consciousness is not purely allocentric Thoughts alone have no phenomenal character: “ Pi is an irrational number” “ Natural selection depends on the variable inheritance of fitness” “ Democracy and capitalism are incompatible” Apparent phenomenality of thought due to associated imagery (Jackendoff 1987)
  13. 13. Consciousness is not purely allocentric <ul><li>. . .this . . . this, . . . or this . . . </li></ul>. . .but not this. THREE HOUSES Visual consciousness is never viewpoint independent. The contents are like. . .
  14. 14. The need for recurrence: <ul><ul><li>TMS: feedback from area MT+/V5 to V1 necessary for visual awareness (P ascual-Leone & Walsh 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Backward masking invokes feedforward activation but suppresses recurrence (Lamme 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedforward activation recorded in anesthetized animals (Lamme 2004) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. State Consciousness <ul><li>Conscious states are composed of mutually influencing egocentric and allocentric representations </li></ul><ul><li>Contra Higher Order Representational theories, metarepresentational states are unnecessary </li></ul><ul><li>Contra First Order Representational theories, involvement of higher- level (though not higher order) states is necessary </li></ul>
  16. 16. Transitive Consciousness <ul><li>What we are conscious of are the contents of the allocentric-egocentric hybrid reps </li></ul><ul><li>Contra HO theories, contents need not include other mental states (Transitivity is false) </li></ul><ul><li>Contra FO theories, contents need not exclude other mental states (Transparency is false) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Phenomenal Character <ul><li>What it is like to be in a conscious state is fully determined by the representational content of that state. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>THE END </li></ul>

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