Thursday, July 5, 2012

Symposium 3: ch. Block

Thursday, July 5 2012 14:00-16:00 @ Dome Theatre

Symposium 3: "Perceptual consciousness and cognitive access"

Chair: Ned Block (Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, USA)


Introduction by Ned Block

The most basic issue concerning the foundations of conscious perception is whether perceptual consciousness is rich or sparse. The overflow argument uses a form of iconic memory to argue that perceptual consciousness is rich, i.e. has a higher capacity than cognitive access: we are conscious of more than we can report or think about. However, there is also evidence that iconic memory is fragmentary and that it may involve “gists” or generic representations. These points have been used to argue that the informational resources that are the basis of “partial report superiority” in iconic memory experiments are really unconscious, and so the overflow argument is mistaken. A further alternative is that the debate between rich and sparse views of perception is not empirically decideable. This issue is one of the most thoroughly interdisciplinary of all theoretical issues concerning consciousness and accordingly this symposium has two philosophers and two scientists.

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