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Brain Computation as Hierarchical Abstraction$
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Dana H. Ballard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028615

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028615.001.0001

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(p.377) 11 Consciousness
Brain Computation as Hierarchical Abstraction

Dana H. Ballard

The MIT Press

The realization that the experience of consciousness is the result of a system of abstractions clears up some long-standing problems. First off the job of the conscious brain is to mine the world for rewarding behaviours that can be stored in their most refined form in efficient subconscious memory. Thus the consciousness has a raison d’etre, rather than being a phenomenological orphan from the body. Second, we endorse a multiple drafts level with Dennett, wherein each draft has a handle that allows it to be managed as part of working memory. This level is also a candidate for managing Graziano’s feelings level and clarifies the confusions over quale. As Graziano points out, having quale on a separate abstraction level gives them an ongoing reality, that at the same time allows them to be ignored or brought to mind in conscious experience.

Keywords:   Cartesian Theatre, Conscious Will, Subconscious, Working Memory

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