Onstage: Sensations, Images, and Ideas

Bernard J. Baars

in In the Theater of Consciousness

Published in print March 1997 | ISBN: 9780195102659
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864126 | DOI:
 Onstage: Sensations, Images, and Ideas

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This chapter argues that sensory consciousness gives us our most vivid moment-to-moment experiences. Mental images seem to be “faint copies” of sensory events, generated from within the brain itself. As far as the brain is concerned, sensations and images belong together. Abstract ideas, on the other hand, allow us to transcend the limitations of the perceptual world in time and space, to enter the many realms of abstraction. The parts of the human cortex that support abstract thinking seem relatively recent on an evolutionary scale, and may ride on the older functioning of sensory cortex. In language, in interpreting other people, in music and art, we often combine the sensory and the abstract into a single, seamless flow of experience.

Keywords: human consciousness; sensory consciousness; brain; blindsight; language; meaning

Chapter.  12716 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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