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Integrating Neuroscience and Phenomenology in the Study of Consciousness

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Phenomenology and physiology become commensurable through a self-organizational physiology and an "enactive" view of consciousness. Self-organizing processes appropriate and replace their own needed substrata, rather than merely being caused by interacting components. Biochemists apply this notion to the living/nonliving distinction. An enactive approach sees consciousness as actively executed by an agent rather than passively reacting to stimuli. Perception does not result from mere stimulation of brain areas by sensory impulses; unless motivated organismic purposes first anticipate and "look for" emotionally relevant .stimuli, brain-sensory processing is not accompanied by perceptual consciousness. To see a soccer ball requires looking for it in the right place. The sell-organizing, emotionally motivated agent instigates this looking-for activity.

Affiliations: 1: Clark Atlanta University


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