The Emergence of Consciousness: A top-down, social phenomenon?
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper introduces the background to the debate addressed by the papers of this Special Issue of Pragmatics & Cognition. Starting with a definition of consciousness it traces some ways in which the term is applied; from clinical medicine, where it relates somewhat crudely to responsiveness to external stimuli, to more cognitive and philosophical aspects such as higher order consciousness and its content. It then discusses the relation of consciousness to brain anatomy, the neural correlates of consciousness, and its possible evolution. In the meeting which forms the basis for Frith’s core paper, Christof Koch also made important contributions, here précised. A discussion of the origins of consciousness in relation to the top-down and bottom-up models brought to the fore follows suit.


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