The Caldron of Consciousness
These new studies by prominent neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers work toward a coherent framework for understanding emotion and its contribution to the functioning of consciousness in general, as an aspect of self-organizing, embodied subjects. Distinguishing consciousness from unconscious information processing hinges on the role of motivating emotions in all conscious modalities, and how emotional brain processes interact with those traditionally associated with cognitive function. Computationally registering/processing sensory signals (e.g. in the occipital lobe or area V4) by itself does not result in perceptual consciousness, which requires subcortical structures such as amygdala, hypothalamus, and brain stem. This interdisciplinary anthology attempts to understand the complexity of emotional intentionality; why the role of motivation in self-organizing processes is crucial in distinguishing conscious from unconscious processes; how emotions account for ‘agency’; and how an adequate approach to emotion-motivation can address the traditional mind-body problem through a holistic understanding of the conscious, behaving organism.