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The Hardware of Mental Activities

1. Rolls presents a model of visual consciousness. Mandik presents his view on the neurophilosophy of consciousness. In your opinion, is Rolls's model a trivial or substantive view of consciousness? [150 word count]

2. Neuroscience and linguistics have, at face value, little in common methodologically. Beginning with the Linguistics Department of Carnegie Mellon University, identify methodological commonalities between the two. How have these methodological commonalities advanced knowledge in the each of the two fields of study? Identify and support which has brought about the biggest advance in both fields. [200 word count]
[In text, citation required. Two scholarly references should be included in addition to [Friedenberg, J., & Silverman, G. (2006). Cognitive science: An introduction to the study of mind. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Write in 3rd person scholarly writing. No quotes please.] This is a personally developed question not an assignment or home work

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Rolls presents a model of visual consciousness. Mandik presents his view on the neurophilosophy of consciousness. In your opinion, is Rolls's model a trivial or substantive view of consciousness?

Rolls' approach suggests the following thesis: the ventral stream of sight (that is, the pathway that deals with recognition), is a crucial component of consciousness. This is because recognition of objects does not exist alone. It is an aspect of a broader plan of action. Therefore, this stream is closer to consciousness as such.

More than this, Rolls also suggests that consciousness exists when I, the agent, am thinking about my thoughts in linguistic or structural terms. This is important to the statement above in that when one thinks in terms o syntax, one is automatically involved in a field of coherence which is far broader than a specific thought or idea. Any action is a part of a plan that coheres together in some sense. In other words, thought and action are not entirely unrelated, and though, when connected with action, assumes an entire field of coherent ideas or symbols that make sense out of any plan of action whatsoever.

The article referenced below is a bit more specific, and deals with implicit and explicit processing of visual information. Explicit processing is where personal will is expended to recognize and, once recognized, added to the coherence field of action. Implicit is less voluntary. The connection is that, in the experiments Rolls uses, there is a "threshold," as he calls it, of information that visual stimuli must have in order to be conscious. In other words, if it is not part of a broader coherence of symbolic thought (language, etc), then it will not be conscious.

Put differently, he suggests in his 204 article, that this "threshold" refers to bits of information that can disrupt the broader stream of coherence are not conscious. These are filtered not by implicit processing, while the coherent, language-based (or symbol-based) thought is quite conscious, but can be interrupted by excess "noise."

There is nothing trivial about this. It seems to be perfectly compatible with an ethical or moral holism similar to Hegel. In other words, our commitments, expeince and knowledge have everything to do with what gets implicitly or explicitly processed and therefore, what is consciously grasped and what is not. Thought without language (or symbol) makes little sense beyond mere subjectivity ...

Solution Summary

The hardware of mental activities are examined.

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