Description - Scientific Approaches to Consciousness by Jonathan D. Cohen
There are many ways to approach the understanding of consciousness - a question that has occupied philosophers and metaphysicians for centuries. Although during the early growth of cognitive science the topic of consciousness remained taboo, an increasing number of studies have either implicitly or explicitly begun to bear on the nature of consciousness. These have come from a number of different angles with different original questions, and focus on a variety of different empirical phenomena. Thus, studies of implicit memory, subliminal processing, strategic versus automatic processing, allocation of attention, and differences between information processes in the awake versus dreaming state all share a common assumption of a particular quality or state - awakeness, awareness, alertness, namely consciousness - that somehow can be distinguished from another type of state or states in which the subject is not aware of the information being processed.
What distinguishes the cognitive psychological and cognitive neuroscience approach to the question of consciousness from that of philosophy and metaphysics is scientific methodology: a set of tools that permit the empirical study of a ph This volume tries to resolve the difficulties associated with the scientific investigation of consciousness. The goal is to explore the extent to which consciousness can be the target of direct scientific inquiry, to get on the table some of the relevant work, and consider the degree to which this research can help inform understanding of consciousness. It is derived from a symposium that brought together a group of cognitive and neuroscientists whose work has touched on the question of consciousness in one form or another. The goals of this meeting were to share recent research in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience that may bear on an understanding of consciousness and to determine whether there are any new strategies for the scientific pursuit of this question within these fields that can be developed.
A long-term goal of this effort would be the development of a unified understanding of consciousness which might encompass scientific as well as philosophical perspectives. However, at the moment, even the most local bridges remain to be built.
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(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
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