Thursday, July 5, 2012

Symposium 3 Talk 1: Block

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

Symposium 3: "Perceptual consciousness and cognitive access"
Talk 1: "The fundamental methodological problem of consciousness research"

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


Theories of consciousness are ultimately based on what we and other people report (or better: think) about their conscious states in various experimental paradigms. Some approaches—mine for example—claim that on the basis of such evidence we can conclude that cosciousness is richer than cognitive access and in particular there are experimental setups where inevitably reports and other cognitive processes will not reflect all of the specific details of conscious experience. But how can we know about the unaccessed conscious detail when being unaccessed would seem to preclude such knowledge? A similar problem arises in knowing about the conscious experience of unattended stimuli, since reporting requires attention to the stimuli or to memory traces of them, and attention is known to alter conscious experience. This talk proposes a solution to this problem.

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