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Disturbed ConsciousnessNew Essays on Psychopathology and Theories of Consciousness$
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Rocco J. Gennaro

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029346

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029346.001.0001

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A Schizophrenic Defense of a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness

A Schizophrenic Defense of a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness

(p.265) 11 A Schizophrenic Defense of a Vehicle Theory of Consciousness
Disturbed Consciousness

Gerard O’Brien

Jon Opie

The MIT Press

Gerard O’Brien and Jon Opie first present their “vehicle theory of consciousness” which identifies phenomenal consciousness with the brain’s vehicles of explicit representation. Given the distributed nature of neural representation, a vehicle theory is committed to the conjecture that phenomenal consciousness at each instant is a multiplicity: an aggregate of discrete phenomenal elements, each of which is the product of a distinct consciousness-making neural mechanism. This in turn implies that the single, unified, conscious subject (or “self”) is a hard-won computational achievement, in which myriad co-conscious parts are stitched together by the brain to form an integrated and coherent whole. From the perspective of a vehicle theory of consciousness, therefore, it is not surprising that the brain sometimes fails to pull off this remarkable feat. In this chapter, they explore what light a vehicle theory sheds on familiar psychopathologies of the self, especially schizophrenia.

Keywords:   Consciousness, Vehicle Theory, Schizophrenia, Psychopathology, Unity of Self

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