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Critical review of Antonio Damasio's theory of core consciousness - Essay Example

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Antonio Damasio is known for his works on psychology though in an unconventional manner he tries to interpret the idea of consciousness into a theoretical science. The main intension of Damasio's theory is to venture into the neuro-physiological analysis of memory, emotions and consciousness…
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Critical review of Antonio Damasios theory of core consciousness
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Download file to see previous pages Each convergence zone handles a category of objects (faces, animals, trees, etc): a convergence zone does not store permanent memories of words and concepts but helps reconstructing them. Once the image has been identified, an acoustical pattern corresponding to the image is constructed by another area of the brain. Finally an articulatory pattern is constructed so that the word that the image represents can be spoken. There are about twenty known categories that the brain uses to organize knowledge: fruits/vegetables, plants, animals, body parts, colours, numbers, letters, nouns, verbs, proper names, faces, facial expressions, emotions, sounds." (Damasio, 1999).
Damasio is the firm believer of the theory that the reasoning area of the brain and the area of the brain responsible for generating emotions virtually overlap each other. As a result and thus he derives the hypothesis that emotion and reason cooperate. He believes that this is the neural, or better to state physical evidence in favour of his theory. Damasio also implies that this is the proof of the brain-body communication that is so much essential for the survival of a species.
In his current neurobiological work 'The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness' Damasio states that evolution developed two different levels of consciousness. One is 'core consciousnesses and the other 'extended consciences'. "Core consciousness is what we share with some nonhuman animals - a simple biological phenomenon, the scope of which is the Here and Now. This basic, integrated representation of one moment and one place is independent of language, reasoning and memory" (Metzinger, 1999). Damasio states this as a organism builds up its memory of its biography, or in other words, a flow chart of its core self each part of this memory bank induces and enhances the core consciousness by becoming a portal of each function submitted in the autobiography of its mind. This core consciousness also enables this organism to draw reference and induce conclusion from this autobiographical memory bank. In accordance to the ability of the organism the autobiographical memory bank stores data for an extended period of time for usage in times of need. The need can be the ability to define itself processing the collective data available or to interact with outsiders in favourable and inauspicious circumstances. The autobiographical memory bank creates a mental map where the self image of that organism is stored. But the perimeter of this core consciousness ends here. After that the domain of extended consciousness begins. Thus it is obvious to state that "active scratchpad" of mental life (Baars, 1988) is absent in this regard. It could be termed that the domain of core consciousness is specified on the usage where there is nothing called tomorrow. Core consciousness only deals with the immediate present and 'now'. It has no functionality in the hyperspace of time. It should be noted that core consciousness does not overlap the idea of space either. In other words core consciousness is not worried about what happens outside the perimeter of its own existence it is only aware of the area where it is present physically. For core consciousness, everything is 'here' as in the context of time- 'now'. Damasio states that at this point ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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