Brain and Mind

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 265-274

First online:

How is Consciousness Expressed in the Cerebral Activation Manifold?

  • Marcel KinsbourneAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, New School University

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I dispute that consciousness is generated by “core circuitry”in the forebrain, with predominance of motor areas, as Cotterillproposes in “Enchanted Looms”and other theorists do also. Ipropose instead that conscious contents are the momentary modeof action of the integrated cortical field, expressed as a point vector (“dominant focus”), to which, in varying degree, allsectors of the network contribute. Consciousness is the brain'saccess to its own activity space, and is identical with the moment'sdominant mode of activity. The dominant focus is generally weightedtoward enactively encoded percepts. Anticipation and preparation,perception and action, inextricably interdigitate.

I also dispute the view of Cotterill and others that consciousnesshas unique agency, which bestowed adaptive advantage when the brain evolved. Being identical with the activity of the network,consciousness can have no additional agency, and it can offerno adaptive advantages beyond those that characterize the network.

consciousness enactive perception core circuitry integrated cortical field causal efficacy