When we hear a church bell ring and look at the steeple, we feel a very real consciousness of its being there—across the street. Yet the mental picture we have is really almost pure imagination: The vibration of our eardrums inside our head is interpreted, not as something happening inside our head, but rather as a sound across the street. The upside-down image on our retina, also inside our head, is turned into a vision of a church across the street. Clearly, these sensations are imaginative, mental constructions rather than a simple factual awareness of what is happening to our sensory organs.
KeywordsSkin Conductance Touch Sensation Conscious Control Mental Construction Index Finger Movement
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Canoe sentence by Lashley (1951) quoted in Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 1992, 25(2), 227 (part of a 55-page discussion of time and the observer).Google Scholar
- 2.Harth (1992, p.198).Google Scholar
- 3.Dennett (1991, p. 197). From a 1963 presentation to the Ostler Society, Oxford University.Google Scholar
- 4.The electrodes remained in place for a week after surgery. A mild shock was applied to the hand and to an electrode in the neocortex. They each produced a slightly different sensation from a slightly different part of the hand. Even with a 1/4 second delay on the electrode stimulus to the hand, the hand stimulus seemed to occur first. With a 1/2-second delay they seemed simultaneous. The signal seems to go through the thymus, which represses the sensation and then backdates it. Brain, 1979, 202, 193; quoted in Winson (1985, p. 276).Google Scholar
- 5.Dennett (1991, p. 163).Google Scholar
- 6.Dennett (1991, p. 325), Crick (1994, pp. 171-172).Google Scholar
- 7.Restak (1991, pp. 152-153).Google Scholar
- 8.For an excellent discussion of consciousness, see Jaynes (1976, pp. 1-66). The flashlight analogy is on page 23. For a further discussion of our mind’s distortion of time and the illusions of consciousness by a philosopher, see Dennett (1991). Caution: He uses words like “heterophenomenological.”Google Scholar