On the 'Pointing Function' of consciousness

Document Type: 
Book Chapter
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Other (See topic area)
Topics: 
Theory of Consciousness
Keywords: 
consciousness, evolution, 'pointing function', learning, biological use of consciousness, function of consciousness, phylogeny, mammalian consciousness
Deposited by: 
ASSC Eprints chair
Date of Issue: 
2007
Authors: 
Bernard J. Baars
Title of Book: 
Neural Correlates of Thinking
Publisher: 
Proceedings of the First Parmenides Conference
Abstract: 
Perhaps the most surprising observation from a commonsense point of view is how "silently" consciousness performs its major functions, such as its involvement in learning. We have no introspective access to the details of the learning process, nor for that matter to perception or motor control. In all these cases, simply "pointing" our consciousness at some event serves to trigger widespread adaptive processes in the brain. This appears to be one of the major biological uses of consciousness in the mammalian brain.
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