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Cortex and MindUnifying Cognition$
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Joaquín M. Fuster

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300840.001.0001

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Epilogue on Consciousness

Epilogue on Consciousness

Chapter:
(p.249) 9 Epilogue on Consciousness
Source:
Cortex and Mind
Author(s):

Joaquín M. Fuster

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300840.003.0009

Consciousness is the subjective experience of cognitive function. It is not only a concomitant phenomenon of cognition, but also a valuable aid to study it. Therefore, as some have forcefully advocated, phenomenology (the analysis of consciousness) is increasingly recognized as a useful method in cognitive science and, accordingly, in cognitive neuroscience. Conscious experience can emerge from the operation of any cognitive function, whereby phenomenology can lead to new knowledge of that function. Ordinarily, however, conscious experience results from the operation and interaction of several functions in complex assemblies of cortical networks. Thus, the cortical architecture of consciousness is the architecture of the five functions discussed in previous chapters—intelligence, perception, memory, attention, and language. In neural terms, what William James (1890) called the stream of consciousness appears to consist of the sequential activation, above a certain level or threshold, of the cognits that support those functions. This is the central idea of the present chapter.

Keywords:   consciousness, cognition, cortical networks, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, memory, attention, cognits

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