Principles Of Neuroscience Lecture 34 The Problem Of Consciousness Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Principles Of Neuroscience Lecture 34 The Problem Of Consciousness Deck (22)

What is consciousness?

The experience of ourselves and the universe


What are the neural correlates of consciousness?

Why is this not good enough?

Eg. Fear has a specific area in the brain responsible for this emotion: the amygdala

However, there is no area in the brain that we can point to and say that it is the generator of conscosmess


Describe Descartes' theory of consciousness

Dualism: there is material stuff, that acts like a machine to form function. Totally separate from this, there is immaterial stuff that produces consciousness


What did David Calmers say about the problem of consciousness?

That the problem of consciousness is the Hard Problem; which is hard, not complex, because there is nothing else like consciousness

The easy problem is all the organic stuff that is going on in the brain

We cannot solve the problem of consciousness by continuing with the easy problem


Describe what John Searle said about consciousness

Chinese room thought experiment

There is a person in a room who receives Chinese characters on a piece of paper. He does not speak the language, but has all the tools he needs to translate the words. These are then submitted. Is this understanding? No, it is simply a mechanical process

There is a difference between mechanical and algorythmical process and undemanding and consciousness


What is HAL9000?
What did it exhibit?

Is this possible?

This was a computer in a movie by Stanley Kubrick

It was so intelligent that eventually, it decided to kill all the humans on the space ship

It exhibited emotions and decision making ; consciousness

Descartes, Serle and Chalmers would say that this is not possible because there is something else required to generate consciousness


What does Daniel Dennett say about consciousness?

He says that it is our intuition to think that consciousness is unique and mysterious, when really, it is explicable in the terms of physiology and biology

There is no hard problem; just and easy problem


What are some historical views on "Life"?



What is vitalism?

Vitalism is the idea that there is a difference in living and non living things; a non-physical, irreducible element that separates the two things


What are the non-physical elements that are responsible for life in the view of vitalism?

Élan vitale (spark of life)
Emergent properties


Describe the relevance of 'crazy ideas' to the problem of consciousness

In the past, when something wasn't understood, we came up with crazy ideas to explain it.

Eg. Tiny human in the spermatazoa

This could be what is happening with consciousness


Why can't we solve the problem of consciousness?

1. Current work will eventually prevail, but much more work needs to be done
2. Current methods will eventually prevail, but we need some currently undiscovered principle
3. Current methods are not sufficient, we need some revolution of thought


Describe how protein structure is an analogy for why we can't solve the problem of consciousness

We are missing some undiscovered principle

The function of proteins is only evident once we have secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure. The primary structure (the sequence of the amino acids) is not sufficient to give structure


What is meant by a period of complacency?
What were some past ones?

Why are we possible in one now?

Period of complacency is when we need a revolutionary discovery before we can progress

Relativity, radioactivity

Our problem of consciousness is possibly our current problem that needs a revolutionary idea


What does William Jones say about emotion and instinct?

He said that every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion


What is Denton's view on consciousness?

Hs view is that the primordial emotions are the beginning of consciousness


What are primordial emotions?

Desire for sex
Desire for sleep
Thwarting visceral function


Describe how the emotion of pain is a homeostatic mechanism

Pain is an emotion elicited when we are doing something that is disrupting homeostasis

When we feel this emotion, we are unlikely to do the thing again


Describe how consciousness is a homeostatic mechanism

Consciousness is a homeostatic mechanism, in that when we have an emotional response to something, our behaviour will be affected and we are better adapted to our environment


Where does regulation of primordial emotions occur?

In the basement

Hypothalamus and brain stem


What is special about homeostasis in primates?

We have direct input from the spinal cord into the insula cortex


What does Craig say about consciousness?

Craig says that:
a sense of physiological condition; how one feels, involves posterior insula and right anterior insula.

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