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Embodiment and Phenomenal Consciousness

Embodiment and Phenomenal Consciousness
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Copyright: 2021
Pages: 29
Source title: Reductive Model of the Conscious Mind
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Wieslaw Galus (Independent Researcher, Poland) and Janusz Starzyk (Ohio University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5653-5.ch002

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Abstract

Can the imaginary brains described in Chapter 1 have only representations of perceived patterns, objects, and events? Can hierarchical structures of neurons also represent feelings, beliefs, emotions, and other higher mental states? Creating feelings requires giving emotional perceptions, memories, plans, beliefs, and intentions. How can this be achieved? How are perceived objects and events using their significance for the fate of the conscious system? Do they meet the various needs of the system? In this chapter we show that to achieve this goal, to feel qualia and to create phenomenal awareness, it is necessary to embody the mind. Mental states, such as thoughts and desires, contain intentional content that can be described by referring to something that we expect or believe. Another category are sensory feelings that do not contain intentional content but instead have different qualitative properties like perceptions, impressions, and sensations. The authors indicate four main domains of cooperation between the body and the brain, so that the mind generated in the system has phenomenal consciousness. These domains are 1) The homeostatic system. The body or housing may contain sensors informing the brain about the internal conditions of the body. The signals from these sensors can complement the information coming from the external senses. 2) The motor system. The housing and body, together with the motor system, allow an individual to manipulate objects in the environment and its own body in the environment. The effects of these manipulations can broaden the experience and allow for their evaluation. 3) Participatory analysis. The body or housing can be used to predict, analyze, and plan activities by making calculations through a physical process. 4) The global states of the organism. Internal power supply parameters, information-processing speed, dynamics of operation, and sensitivity thresholds for internal and external sensors can affect performance, the results of evaluation of sensations, and the shape of neural representations. This assumption makes it possible to explain how the imaginary mind can feel subjective impressions, the qualia that are the basis of phenomenal consciousness. The bodily reactions to the sensory stimuli reaching the brain can give value to individual feelings, and emotions. Feeling hardness or smoothness, assessing the attractiveness of smells, judging the importance of sounds, and evaluating the favor of the environment based on images all go beyond the direct response of the senses. The entire brain is involved in the creation of a conscious mind, along with sensory processing, control of movements, memories, predictions, and all other brain structures. This is an emergent phenomenon that is not reflected in any part of the brain's apparatus. In this chapter, the authors explain to what extent we can be aware of our feelings, how far we can understand the world around us and our place in it, how we can consciously direct our thoughts, and how we can focus attention on something.

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