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ConsciousnessCreeping up on the hard problem$
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Jeffrey Gray

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198520917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198520917.001.0001

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The global neuronal workspace

The global neuronal workspace

Chapter:
(p.171) Chapter 12 The global neuronal workspace
Source:
Consciousness
Author(s):

Jeffrey Gray

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198520917.003.0012

This chapter argues that the global workspace aspires to be a good isomorph of what conscious experience feels like. But one of the things that conscious experience feels like is a display that one is able to inspect. The most dramatic of these displays does not lie in the ‘private spaces’ of consciousness — the words, numbers, images, etc. that we are able to call to mind and which executive functions manipulate in relative isolation from the world outside. It lies, rather, in that very world outside. There is an audience looking at, listening to, smelling, tasting, and touching the effects, in consciousness, of the dynamic patterns that have won out in the competition for the global workspace. But the concept of the workspace gives no clue as to how this is done, and consideration of its neuronal underpinnings has done nothing to advance matters in this respect. Nor for that matter, once its dualism is stripped away, does the Cartesian Theatre have any kind of explanatory force. But it provides no worse a metaphor for the problem.

Keywords:   global workspace, consciousness, conscious experience

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