Abstract Details

An Explanation of Consciousness  Frank Heile, PhD (Santa Clara, CA )   C1

This proposed novel model of consciousness uses three core ideas: (1) a two-agent model of the human brain, (2) Attention Schema Theory (Princeton neuroscientist, Michael Graziano), and (3) a theorem from control theory, which claims that every effective agent must have a model of the world in which the agent is active. The two agents are the Modeler (creates the model of the world and directs attention) and the Controller (controls the body and produces thoughts and feelings). This model (a) demonstrates that we are a self-model living in our own model of the world; (b) provides an answer to the Hard Problem of consciousness; (c) suggests two types of attention mechanisms: focal and diffuse; (d) clarifies the distinction between Access Consciousness and Phenomenal Consciousness (NYU philosopher, Ned Block); (e) predicts that the Neural Correlates of Consciousness can be measured separately for Access Consciousness and Phenomenal Consciousness; (f) proposes a mechanism that produces world model awareness (e.g., peripheral visual awareness); (g) explains three kinds of consciousness: (i) normal human consciousness, (ii) flow state consciousness, and (iii) nondual states of consciousness; and (h) provides an answer to philosophical questions, such as: (i) what conditions cause conscious awareness to arise, (ii) can philosophical zombies exist, and (iii) why does conscious awareness seem to be fundamentally non-physical with no location in space.