I perceive consciousness in myself. My brain constructs a perceptual model of a mind that thinks this and that, feels this and that and is aware of this and that; the mind is attributed to my own location. That model provides an organized, coherent way for me to understand myself — to predict and help guide my behavior. It is not always accurate; it is woefully incomplete; but it is a useful model of myself.
This realization that consciousness is a perception is counterintuitive. We think of consciousness as something ghostly that inhabits an object. But according to this neuro-social theory, consciousness is a perception that is attributed to something. Like beauty, consciousness is in the eye of the beholder. Our brains actively paint consciousness onto ourselves and onto the objects around us.
Reader and fellow science enthusiast amanimal called my attention to a series of old posts from Michael Graziano. This particular one caught my eye because it seems to be a similar theory of consciousness to the one I described in my posts:
I hadn’t seen Graziano’s posts before, so I’m somewhat stoked that my idea matches an actual neuroscience theory. Anyway, if you enjoyed my posts, you’ll almost certainly enjoy Graziano’s, particularly since I think he articulates the core idea better than I did.
h/t amanimal for the links
- Quote for the Day – Michael Graziano Thinks Puppets Can Be Conscious (philosophyandpsychology.wordpress.com)
- “Easy” vs “Hard” Problems of Consciousness (manwithoutqualities.com)
- Book Report 2013 – What I’ve Read This Year (philosophyandpsychology.wordpress.com)
- Dreams (asthevoiceslinger.wordpress.com)
- Skyhook Theory: Intentional Systems versus Blind Brains (rsbakker.wordpress.com)
- The science of consciousness must escape the religious dark ages (oup.com)
- What Anesthesia Can Teach Us About Consciousness (nytimes.com)
- The elephant is “consciousness” (richarddawkins.net)