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Experienced WholenessIntegrating Insights from Gestalt Theory, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Predictive Processing$
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Wanja Wiese

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036993

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036993.001.0001

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Representational Holism

Representational Holism

(p.157) 6 Representational Holism
Experienced Wholeness

Wanja Wiese

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses ways in which the problem of phenomenal unity can be analyzed on the representationalist level of description. Having characterized phenomenal unity as a kind of holism in the previous chapter, the aim is now to determine how collections of (phenomenal) representations can be holistic and how this holism can make a phenomenal difference. The chapter is structured as follows. First, relevant features of the representationalist level of description are explained. This is followed by a discussion of how the experienced self can be analyzed in terms of a global self-representation, which constitutes a phenomenal point of view (an experienced first-person perspective). Then the question of how the existence of a hierarchy of experienced wholes can be justified on purely theoretical grounds is explored, by asking how a hierarchy of representation increases the efficiency of the system. Finally, it is suggested that measures of (dynamical) complexity, like causal density and integrated information, could be used to operationalize the notion of representational holism.

Keywords:   Representational holism, Integrated information, Self-representation, First-person perspective, Phenomenal point of view, Causal density, Hierarchy

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