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Consciousness Online: Jesse Prinz on the (Dis)Unity of Consciousness




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Jesse Prinz, a philosopher at the City University of New York, takes up the question of the unity of consciousness. He then explores the implications and experimental support for this claim.

Posted August 16, 2012 by Natalie Geld

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esse Prinz, a philosopher at the City University of New York, takes up the question of the unity of consciousness.

When we look into the world we see, for instance, a yellow cab driving by. We experience the shape and color of the taxi as belonging to the same object. But we also experience the car against a background where there are many other objects. This illustrates the difference between the binding problem, which is the problem of how the mind binds the various properties of objects into a single representation of an object (the yellow taxi cab) and the unity of consciousness, on the other hand, which is the idea of our having a single conscious experience that is made up of distinct parts.

Synchrony in the gamma range has long been thought to be the neural mechanism of binding, which Prinz disputes.

But he does think that synchrony in this range is a good candidate for a neural implementation of the unity of conscious experience.  This is because synchrony in this range is a good candidate for the neural underpinnings of attention and attention is a good candidate for the psychological mechanism behind the unity of conscious experience.

He then explores the implications and experimental support for this claim.



Jesse Prinz on the (Dis) Unity of Consciousness



ABOUT Consciousness Online

The Online Consciousness Conference was founded and is organized by Richard Brown and is dedicated to the rigorous study of consciousness and mind. I construe consciousness studies very broadly so as to include philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, neurophilosophy, and even some philosophy of language! Basically, if it relates to the mind then it relates to consciousness.

The goal is to bring philosophers, scientists, and interested lay persons together in an online venue to promote high-level discussion and exchanging of views, ideas and data related to the scientific and philosophical study of consciousness and mind. A subsidiary goal is to promote and facilitate interaction between online venues and traditional print venues.

The format of the conference is inspired by and adapted from the first and second Online Philosophy Conference.

About Founder, Richard Brown, PhD

…of all the Richard Browns in the world, I am the Onemorebrowniest.

I am a philosopher at the City University of New York. In particular I am an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Program at LaGuardia Community College. I earned my PhD in Philosophy with a"Richard Brown mbSci Executive Editorial Team Consciousness Online Bio" concentration in Cognitive Science from the Graduate Center in 2008. My work is focused on the philosophy of mind, consciousness studies, and the foundations of cognitive science but I also have interests and projects in the philosophy of language, metaethics, logic and the philosophy of logic, as well as the history of philosophy.

You can find a full list of my publications at my PhilPapers profile or see some video presentations at my Youtube channel (as well some video of me jamming with my fellow philosophers and cognitive scientists :)


Selected Papers

The Emperor’s New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experience without First-Order Representations Co-written with Hakwan Lau (forthcoming)  in a Festschrift for Ned Block edited by Adam Pautz and Daniel Stoljar. MIT Press. Will include a reply from Block

The Brain and its States (2012) in Being in Time: Dynamical Models of Phenomenal Experience

Zombies and Simulation (2012) in a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies on David Chalmers’ article The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis, with a reply from Chalmers

The Myth of Phenomenological Overflow (2012) Consciousness and Cognition

Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments Against Physicalism (2010) Journal of Consciousness Studies

What is a Brain State? (2006) Philosophical Psychology

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Natalie Geld

Co-founder + Creative Director of mbSci, Natalie Geld is a writer, communications specialist, producer, and educator, and has spent much of her life fostering educational opportunities for activating vivid human potential. She researches the integral nature of energy and the relationship of science, consciousness, and our health.