27
Nov
08

Next rip lecture

2 December 2008
6:00-7:30 PM
Chancellor’s Building, Room CBA 0.060             DOWNLOAD PAPER (PDF)

Professor Robert Hanna
University of Cambridge/University of Colorado at Boulder

ESSENTIALLY EMBODIED COGNITION & THE DEEP CONSCIOUSNESS THESIS
The abstract is pasted below. This is directly relevant to second years taking Philosophy of Mind, and indirectly relevant to all human beings who are minded and embodied. So I guess we can expect to have a huge audience.

Wine will be served, as usual.

Professor Robert Hanna
University of Cambridge/University of Colorado at Boulder

ESSENTIALLY EMBODIED COGNITION & THE DEEP CONSCIOUSNESS THESIS

Embodied Cognition Theory, as I understand it, says that the fact of mental representation, or intentionality, is at least partially determined by facts about the living organismic body of the animal that carries out representational/intentional acts, and thereby has representational/intentional states.

In this paper I argue for two theses. First, human consciousness is essentially embodied in the two-part sense that (a) it cannot be disembodied, and (b) it thereby has a full-scale neurobiological incarnation of its conscious states in all its vital systems and vital organs—including the higher brain, brain stem, limbic system, nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, and cardiovascular system, right out to the skin. This is the Essential Embodiment Thesis. Second, necessarily whenever a creature with a consciousness like ours is in any sort of mental state, then it is also occurrently conscious in some definite way, even if only minimally. So occurrent consciousness like ours penetrates into every aspect of our mental lives, including so-called “non-conscious” information processing. This is the Deep Consciousness Thesis. The Deep Consciousness Thesis entails a crucial distinction between (a) self-consciousness or reflective consciousness, and (b) non-self-conscious consciousness or pre-reflective consciousness.

If the Essential Embodiment Thesis and the Deep Consciousness Thesis are both true, then cognition, consciousness like ours or first-person mental life, and the neurobiological life of the suitably complex human organism mutually determine each other and jointly constitute one and the same thing—a rational human agent. So embodied cognitive neuroscience and the theory of rational human agency are one and the same enterprise

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