Yes that is the issue and I don't think I read all the postings
on that thread at the time.
SP [Feb 21]: 'It is a complicated issue'
SP: 'So how do I know I'm not that special kind of
zombie or partial zombie now? I feel absolutely sure that I am
not but then
I would think that, wouldn't I?'
MP: I think the way this asifism thread has been going, it looks
like we have
A/ 1POV which we experience and remember, and
B/ 3POV which is a construction from inference and on-going,
informal, Turing tests of everyone we know.
We can never _know for certain_ that the other person is aware
of being here now in the same way that we ourselves are but we
get a leg-up from the mirror neurons that seem able to recognise
and emulate the behaviour sequences of people we see. [This is
the basis of most human learning, and the brain-side locus of
memetic existence, but that's another story.]
It is basically that people act like we do and share the same
description of the world which leads us to believe they are
conscious just like we are, and that's it! End of story; no
rocket science involved.
For what it is worth, my current surmise on blindsight: the
reason sufferers cannot report seeing the stimulus but seem to
act as if they ARE seeing it/them is to do with timing; whatever
it is that updates that part of their model of self in the world
which would be *the representation of their 3D spatial
relationship to the stimulus* is out of kilter.
Given that the strongest candidate for binding is synchronous,
resonant, mutual and reciprocal stimulation patterns, my guess
is that damage of some sort is preventing incorporation into the
model of the resonance patterns which embody that/those
aspects/s of the representation. I think that means the damage
could be in 'white matter', ie the communication between
cortical areas rather than within them. If the person is able to
see other parts of their visual field clearly then _clearly_
there must be effective linkage between the visual cortex and
the regions controlling eye movements. This implies that
information _about_ stimuli in the blinded part of the visual
field is available to some areas of visual cortex and thus may
also be available from there to temporal lobe regions dealing
If the above is the case, and I reckon it is quite reasonable to
think so, then what the blind sight patients describe is
understandable. They can look for something which is described
to them sufficiently for the verbal information to evoke the
working memory storage of task and target information, and this
can effect the kind of unconscious searching activity which we
are used to. Well I am used to it any way! I hunt around the
house or garden for something named and may have no clearly
conscious pre-conceived image of it for example my offspring are
forever misplacing hair brushes, shoes, and so forth and I often
have the experience of looking at the place they turn out to be
- which strangely enough is always the last place I think to
look for them :-0 and the item just seems to appear out of nowhere.
The work of Benjamin Libet and others has shown that conscious
registration of something usually follows about 0.4 or 0.5
second after the primary sensory response occurs. With
blindsight patients the primary sensory response is occurring
and affecting various secondary areas in a useful way but not
all of that is available to update the navigational self-model.
This ties in with Oliver Sachs's work with many patients who
presented with unique and interesting deficiencies of awareness
who's autopsies revealed specific lesions within their brains.
It conforms with the idea that conscious mental experience is
what it is like to be certain processes within the brain. It
does not conform with the idea that a 'zombie' could be an
effective member of society. The key issue is that in order to
function as an effective, self-preserving, autonomous being, a
human has to be able to review her actions as soon as they occur
and be able to correct and behaviour that is sub optimal or not
in line with prior planning. Consciousness is simply what it is
like to be this reviewing process.
Mark Peaty CDES
Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 10/06/07, *Mark Peaty* <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
> * But I agree also that you are highly unlikely to come across
> someone who can truthfully say 'I am not conscious'. It seems
> totally self-contradictory: for example a person not just with
> 'hemi' neglect, but total neglect. How could such a person
> encounter themselves or the world?
> Or is there the possibility of something like so-called
> blindsight in every sensory modality? For example: deaf-hearing,
> numb-sensing, proprio-non-ception? This would imply a zombie
> [without 'a life'] which survived by making apparently random
> guesses about everything yet getting significantly more than
> chance success in each modality.
> See this discussion with Jesse Mazer a few months ago on cortical
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