Thursday, July 5, 2012

Symposium 3 Talk 2: Sackur

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

Symposium 3: "Perceptual consciousness and cognitive access"
Talk 2: “Kinds of access and phenomenality”

Jérôme Sackur (Department of Cognitive Studies, Ecole Normale Supérieure, France)


The science of consciousness seems to face a recurrent dilemma: either accept a non fully reportable phenomenal quality of conscious contents or repudiate phenomenality altogether. In this talk I will argue that this dilemma seems to arise only because of the delusive simplicity of the notion of cognitive access. I will show that access is more diverse than commonly acknowledged, and that it can be probed in many ways. Cognitive access is not uniform: for one given stimulus, it may vary in completeness, and also in regards to levels of processing. Therefore, any report of a conscious state must integrate an array of disparate fragments of accessed information, and take into account prior knowledge of the context. I argue that with this richer notion of access, we can aim for a functional construal of consciousness which obviates the need for a special kind of phenomenal consciousness.

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