Friday, May 28, 2010

Consciousness Explained

Daniel Dennett eloquently derails the most intuitive notions of consciousness and offers a fresh perspective. The first couple of pages were confusing and counterintuitive, but eventually I came to see Dennet's theory as a formidable challenge to "The Cartesian Theatre". The "Cartesian Theatre" describes the entrenched idea of consciousness and reveals the fallability of the theory, ultimately revealing "The Great Illusion". Cartestian Materialism panders to the notion that our brains present conscious material to the mind, but unless there is an active super-natural agent, this notion seems unlikely at best. Dennet deconstructs this notion and introduces "The Multiple Drafts" theory, a theory that is capable of describing consciousness without the aid of a super-natural agent. Naturally, this theory requires a deconstruction of the most entrenched presuppositions of the mechanisms of consciousness, and describes consciousness as a connectivity between thousands of neural specialists that form coalitions. These neural demons only apprehend information once, which then goes through the rigorous process of revision. This concept dispels of the "Cartesian Theatre" and proves that our brains do not recapitulate information for the benefit of the observer, because there is no observer. Dennet's book is thoroughly complex, inaccesible, and even frustrating at times.However, the value of such a theory far outweighs the mental labor that is required to fully grasp the over-arching concepts of the book. This brilliant book has undoubtedly shed light on the nature of the brain and it is a brilliant attempt at dismissing the mind/brain problem as base.

Jimmy Sagan

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