Skip Navigation

2006 - Volume 27, Numbers 3 and 4, Summer and Autumn

The Case for Intrinsic Theory: XII. Inner Awareness Conceived of as a Modal Character of Conscious Experiences

An intrinsic theory of inner awareness contends such awareness is inherent in and essential to every mental-occurrence instance that is rightly described to be an object of inner awareness. More specifically how does the direct apprehension take place that one frequently undergoes of mental-occurrence instances as they go on? In publications of the 1980s intrinsic theorist David Woodruff Smith proposes that what makes a conscious experience conscious is part of the modality of presentation in the experience of its primary object. Inner awareness is a kind of “modifying” or “qualifying” of that presentation. It is a way the experience (or mental act) is “executed” rather than a secondary awareness with its own content that is included in and directed upon the experience. A recent chapter of Woodruff Smith’s returns to his previous phenomenological analysis of inner awareness in order to deepen and widen it and to revise it in some ways. Among the alterations in his conception is that an inner awareness is no longer necessary for an experience or mental act to be classified as conscious. This change is not a matter of phenomenology but of ontology because the reasoning in its favor is not based on inner awareness. The chapter very largely addresses nevertheless inner awareness and takes as before a phenomenological approach to it. Woodruff Smith uses Franz Brentano’s account of inner awareness for guidance in articulating his own account and he also absorbs thereto a significant part of Edmund Husserl’s understanding of inner awareness in terms of temporal awareness. Emerging aspects of Woodruff Smith’s phenomenological account include among them (a) that having inner awareness is one of the features of the presentation of the primary object in a conscious experience but it is not itself presented, (b) that tertiary awareness is involved in conscious experience since inner awareness is one of its phenomenological features, (c) that an experience of which we have inner awareness need not be qualitative but, in order for it to be a concscious experience, it cannot but be qualitative, because the “tertiary awareness” which all our conscious experiences involve requires qualitativeness, and (d) that inner awareness is supervenient on temporal awareness just as the primary awareness in a conscious experience supervenes on the qualitative content of the experience. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., 635 SW Sandalwood Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

Of Bits and Logic: Cortical Columns in Learning and Memory

Despite the growing research and theoretical formulations tied to memory storage within the brain, the role of cortical columns has received relatively little attention. The current paper presents a theoretical formulation based on cortical columns as the binary units that contain all cortical information, and how memory and learning may occur based on the interaction patterns of columns. The described model is an extension of Lurian views, and suggests higher functions to result from the interaction of five systems. Specific mechanisms by which the thalamus and cortex interact to create long term memory formation are delineated. There is the suggestion of two distinct, but interactive, sensory–cortical memory systems, one for factual/generic memories and the other for episodic/personal memories. Hemispheric lateralization of function is explained on the basis of speed and quantity of columnar activation. Conclusions focus on recent technological advances that may allow cortical models to be testable in the near future. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert A. Moss, Ph.D., Center for Emotional Restructuring, P.O. Box 591, Travelers Rest, South Carolina 29690. Email: rmoss@emotionalrestructuring.com

The Frontal Feedback Model of the Evolution of the Human Mind: Part 1, The “Pre”-human Brain and the Perception–Action Cycle 

The frontal feedback model argues that the sudden appearance of art and advancing technologies around 40,000 years ago in the hominid archaeological record was the end result of recent fundamental change in the functional properties of the hominid brain, occurring late in its evolution. This change was marked by the switching of the driving mechanism behind the global, dynamic function of the brain from an “object-centered” bias, reflective of nonhuman primate and early hominid brains, to a “self-centered” bias, reflective of modern Homo sapiens and perhaps late Homo erectus brains. Such a transition in the global–functional properties of the brain was provided for by the progressive enlargement of the primate frontal lobe throughout its evolution. In late-developing hominids, this progressive enlargement effectively succeeded in reversing the preferred direction of information flow in the highest association areas of the neocortex from a caudo–rostral bias to a rostro–caudal bias. It was this reversal specifically that provided for the ability of humans to use symbolic thought in the creative expression of art, language, and the development of advancing technologies. Part 1 traces the hypothesized evolution of the primate brain from its early vertebrate beginnings through to the common ancestor of modern great apes and humans in order to set the stage for the proposed reversal, which is the subject of Part 2. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Raymond A. Noack, 517 Ninth Ave., Suite 204, Seattle, Washington 98104. Email: cmsresearch2000@yahoo.com

The Practical Dangers of Middle-Level Theorizing in Personality Research 

Personality research has functioned under the prevailing influence of middle-level theorizing sufficiently long to justify consideration of the effects of this approach. Despite improvements in precision and testability of hypotheses, with resulting increases in volume of research, the pervasive effect of several practical dangers of middle-level theorizing are identified. These involve the unappreciated failure to test comprehensive theories when concepts from them have been extirpated, overly-weak justification of research methods, a vanity of small differences, and insufficient theoretical precision in framing empirical efforts. Ways of avoiding these dangers are explored, and it is concluded that the most promising is a comparative analytic stance toward inquiry that reconsiders comprehensive theorizing without courting ambiguity and imprecision. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Salvatore R. Maddi, Ph.D., Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, California 92697–7085. Email: srmaddi@uci.edu

Body Image in Neurology and Psychoanalysis: History and New Developments 

While the self-representation of our bodies is a key element in our belief that we are autonomous individuals with a “first-person perspective,” the term body image covers and has covered a variety of meanings. In neurology, this term currently designates the verbal representation of the body parts. Psychoanalysis considers body image as intertwining the imaginary and symbolic aspects of identity, and insists on its dependence on the Other’s regard; this link to regard appears in the term specular image. This paper first presents a history of the modern psychiatrical, psychological and neurological conceptions of own-body representation. Next, it considers applications of the Lacanian notion of specular image in neurological disorders of body image. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr Catherine Morin, INSERM, U731, Paris, France; or, Universit Pierre et Marie Curie–Paris 6, UMR S731, Paris, France. Stphane Thibierge can be reached at UFR Sciences Humaines et Arts, Universit de Poitiers, ERPC, Poitiers, France. Email: catherine.morin@chups.jussieu.fr

The Case for Intrinsic Theory: XIII. The Role of the Qualitative in a Modal Account of Inner Awareness 

Theorists of consciousness differ in respect to whether they hold that all or some of our states of consciousness possess a qualitative character, and in respect to whether they hold that all or some of our states of consciousness possess a reflexive character. This article mainly discusses one such theory, wherein it is proposed that both the qualitative character and the reflexive character (a) are intrinsic to each state of consciousness that possesses them and (b) are modal characters of each state of consciousness that possesses them. What is centrally of concern here is that special part of the theory in question that treats of the reflexive character of our states of consciousness and, more specifically, the role that is assigned therein to their qualitative character 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., 635 SW Sandalwood Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

Book Reviews

Topologies of the Flesh: A Multidimensional Exploration of the Lifeworld
Book Author: 

Steven Rosen’s book is not easy reading, but it is well worth the effort required. Topologies of the Flesh follows Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle (1994) and Dimensions of Apeiron (2004) in presenting Rosen’s remarkable project. Rosen is both an original thinker and a synthesizer of ideas from diverse fields, including topology (focusing on paradoxical shapes such as the Moebius strip and the Klein bottle), phenomenology (the latter Heidegger, Merleau–Ponty), depth psychology (Jung), post-structuralism (especially Lacan), history of consciousness (Gebser), mythology (especially Eliade), and subfields such as the psychological study of alchemy and the anthropological study of shamanism. Rosen brings together widely differing perspectives in an accomplished and creative way. His text is necessarily densely packed, but it is impeccably written and, to the attentive reader, always lucid.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Michael Washburn, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Indiana University South Bend, 1700 Mishawaka Avenue, P.O. Box 7111, South Bend, Indiana 46634. Email: mwashbur@iusb.edu

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Book Author: 

The thesis that Dennett argues for in Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon has a double aspect. First, religion being but one natural phenomenon among many should be subject to scientific investigation (p. 17). Resistance to this notion constitutes the first spell or taboo and is in complicity with the second “master” spell, that of the phenomenon of religion itself (pp. 18, 322). Dennett’s tentative naturalistic recommendation is two-pronged: he primarily deploys an evolutionary biology perspective, and derivatively a highly suggestive appeal to memetics. To acknowledge that religion is natural “is only the beginning of the answer, not the end” (p. 75). Religion as the natural phenomenon has to answer to Dennett’s Darwinist refrain — cui bono? (to whose advantage?). And derivatively, how or why highly exotic and implausible supernatural religious ideas (or memes) are transmitted and sustained? Humankind, naturally disposes cause-seeking creatures, are inclined to hypostesize all manner of beliefs (virtual agents free to evolve to amplify our yearnings or our deeds — pp. 114, 120, 123, 282) when explanation of some phenomenon is not forthcoming — this constitutes the “master” spell.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Leslie Marsh, Centre for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, United Kingdom. Email: l.marsh@sussex.ac.uk

Female Infidelity and Paternal Uncertainty: Evolutionary Perspectives on Male Anti-Cuckoldry Tactics
Book Editors:

Cross-culturally, women interact more with children than do men, spend more time on parenting behaviors, and invest more in their children no matter how “investment” is measured (Bjorklund and Pelligini, 2001; Bjorklund and Sheckelford, 1999). In traditional societies, in our prehistoric past, and among many primates, child rearing is a task usually left to groups of female relatives. Furthermore, a fascination with infants is almost universal in primates, but this strong interest in playing with infants seems to be restricted to females (Hrdy, 1999; Maestripieri and Pelka, 2002). The pervasiveness of these patterns of behavior has led many researchers to argue that females have evolved a number of psychological parenting mechanisms that are lacking in males.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Frank T. McAndrew, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois 61401–4999. Email: fmcandre@knox.edu


Back to 2006