SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Aufmerksamkeit und kognitive Beeinflussung bei bewusster visueller Wahrnehmung
(Philosophie des Geistes, Englisch)

In this talk I will address Jesse Prinz's recent effort to provide the debate about consciousness with a renewed perspective. In his recent book The conscious brain (2012) Prinz aims to build up a coherent theory for visual conscious experience by adopting the framework of the intermediate level theory of consciousness (ILTC), first developed by Ray Jackendoff in 1987. The general idea of this computational theory is that the flow of information processing in the brain can ideally be divided in three stages or levels. To each one of these levels corresponds a specific representation of the visual input. The most important claim, however, is that only the representation associated with the intermediate level presents a sufficient degree of both organization and phenomenal similarity to be suitable to become conscious. I will present the core elements of Prinz's proposal and discuss why I believe that his account presents at least two critical aspects that need to be discussed carefully, since they might reveal two correspondent problems for his entire framework. The first point focuses on the notion of intermediate level representations, which I will characterize and then criticize from two different points of view. In particular, I believe that this notion is far too general and underspecified to be considered as a useful explanatory device or an adequate functional component of the theory, while, on the other hand, it doesn't provide a consistent account of the phenomenon of cognitive penetration, for which I will present some supporting evidence. The second problem concerns Attention, considered by Prinz as the only necessary and sufficient top-down process for consciousness. I will show that there is evidence for a dissociation of attention and consciousness, thus undermining the idea of attention being necessary for consciousness. Finally I will address other top-down processes that may play an important role in the arising of consciousness, thereby arguing that attention is also not sufficient.

Chair: Tae-Kyung Kim
Zeit: 09:00-09:30, 14. September 2013 (Samstag)
Ort: HS 107

Francesco Marchi
(University of Siena - Ruhr Universität Bochum, Italien)

Francesco Marchi (MA phil.) University of Siena (Italy). 2009 baccalaureate in philosophy; 2012 master in linguistics and cognitive sciences; thesis about top-down cognitive processes in visual object recognition. Starting Phd in philosophy of mind at Ruhr Universität Bochum in Sep. 2013.

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