Guilty or Not Guilty

Dehaene sees consciousness as a process in the brain. Each part of the brain process different things such as emotions and language. Between these two sections of the brain is a link which allows everything to work together as one unit. He also believes that consciousness is seeing something and knowing you saw something.

This is the part of the theory that perplexes me. Dehaene’s argument kind of doesn’t make sense to me because it doesn’t really explain why people at the same crime scene remember things differently. Like the color of a persons shirt may be different based from person to person. Or even something more pertinent like the race of an individual. I mean it is evident that each individual saw something because they’re recalling specific things, but it doesn’t really make sense in that respect.

Damasio had three stages to the self: the protoself; the core self; and the autobiographical self. I’m more inclined to buy what Damasio is selling because he takes into account factors that can change the image of ones self.

Let’s take the same example… If the crime being committed was a white woman being raped and the witnesses were another white woman and a black woman, the race factor of the perpetrator could be misconstrued because of societal values placed upon race. Even though Damasio and Dehaene’s claims are on a “minuscule” or “microlevel” scale…those little details are what makes or breaks a case and in many cases have imprisoned or incriminated the wrong man. I’m not sure whether or not I fully believe all of what Damasio is preaching, but it definitely makes more sense than Dehaene in my opinion.

1 Comment so far

  1.   Jason Tougaw on September 26th, 2016

    I think you’re bumping against a really significant difference in the two theories–and a particular gap in Dehaene.

    Basically, Dehaene values the subjective dimension of consciousness, but he doesn’t emphasize it very much. He describes brain systems without thinking much about the subjectivity involved. He would easily agree that perception represents the world in a subjective way, so that two people in the same situation will experience it differently. But he presents this sort of as an after-effect. He doesn’t really need to build it into his theory.

    Damasio, on the other hand, builds his theory on the subjectivity of what he calls the primordial and core selves, so it’s there at the core of the theory.

    Still, neither can explain how the brain systems they describe are involved in enabling or producing or filtering subjective experience (or qualia). They’re both sort of writing around the explanatory gap.

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